The blue-fin tuna is found in all the temperate and subtropical seas of the world and is the largest of all the tunas. The largest blue-fin ever recorded weighed 1,500 pounds, and fish of 500 pounds are common. In the fall these fish are very fat and considered to be in ideal condition for the Asian sashimi market. Asian buyers visit the major blue-fin ports of the world and compete for the highest quality fish. The fattest fish with deep red flesh color are the most sought after.
The price of these fish may reach $20 per pound for whole fish, which in turn may become as high as $50 per pound for fillet by the time it reaches Tokyo.
As with all tunas, the blue-fin migrate over great distances and grow quickly in their travels. Fish of the same size generally travel together and visit the same areas as previous generations have at specific times in their life cycles.
Each summer, Southern California is visited by small (from 10 pounds to 45 pounds) schooling blue-fins. Although these small fish have not developed the fat content and color to make them important to the sashimi market, they have long been an important commercial fish. They are often canned as "light-meat" tuna. Right now there is high-quality fresh blue-fin being caught off California. This is a great time to enjoy this inexpensive and delicious member of the tuna family.