Florida Seafood Products
Delicious and nutritious, yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is one of the world’s most important food fish. It lives in pelagic (open ocean) waters off both of Florida’s coasts and is a staple in seafood markets and restaurants around the state. Though yellowfin tuna is available year round, June, July, and August are the months of peak supply.
Yellowfin tuna is a beautiful fish, with a dark metallic blue body, a silver belly, and bright yellow fins. Its torpedo-shaped body is built for speed. It has to swim fast to catch its prey—smaller fish, squid, and shrimp—and to avoid becoming prey to certain species of whales and sharks. Yellowfin tuna is one of the largest species of tuna. Individuals have been known to weigh up to 400 pounds, but commercial catches tend to be much smaller, usually between 20 and 100 pounds.
Yellowfin tuna is a schooling fish and often travels in the company of other tuna species of similar size. Schools of yellowfin tuna are known to gather around masses of floating debris or near groups of dolphins. Because of yellowfin tuna’s association with dolphins, special care must be exercised in the tuna’s harvest. In Florida, yellowfin tuna are caught with hook and line, one at a time, never with nets, so they are guaranteed “dolphin safe.”
Fresh yellowfin tuna doesn’t look or taste like the tuna you buy in a can. It’s deep red in color with a sweet, mild flavor and a dense, firm, beef-like texture. Fresh yellowfin tuna is typically sold in loin form.
When shopping for fresh tuna, look for firm meat with a fresh sea-breeze aroma and no discoloration. Store fresh tuna in the coldest part of the refrigerator at 32 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two days. To freeze, wrap fish tightly to prevent freezer burn. Date the package and store at 0 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator or under cold running water.
Tuna is traditionally cooked to rare or medium-rare in the center. For a rare center, cook two minutes on each side; for a medium center, cook three to five minutes; and for a well-done center, cook five to eight minutes. As tuna cooks, it turns from pink or red to tan or ivory white.
Versatile yellowfin tuna tastes great raw, grilled, baked, broiled, blackened, pan seared, or smoked. Yellowfin tuna is widely used in sashimi, Japanese dishes featuring fresh raw fish sliced thin and served with a dipping sauce.
Yellowfin tuna is a lean fish that’s highly nutritious. A 4-ounce serving of raw yellowfin tuna has 130 calories, 2 grams of fat, 26 grams of protein, and 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
More About Yellowfin Tuna
- DACS-P-01445 Yellowfin Tuna Recipes Brochure (PDF)
- DACS-P-01414 Florida Seafood Healthy Facts Brochure (PDF)
- DACS-P-01549 Florida Seafood Buying Guide (PDF)
Contact Us About Seafood Products
Division of Marketing and Development
Bureau of Seafood and Aquaculture Marketing
The Collins Building, Innovation Park
2051 East Dirac Drive
Tallahassee, Florida 32310
(850) 617-7281 Fax