Regaled throughout the world as the ultimate sushi fish, bluefin is among the most sought after fish in the sea. Largest of the tuna family, bluefin tuna
remains famous for their highly migratory patterns and voracious appetite. Bluefin tuna migrate north along the Atlantic Coast into the Gulf of Maine to feed on schools of mackerel, herring, squid, and other baitfish that concentrate here in the warm months. For generations, Maine fishermen fish overnight via line or harpoon for these beautiful fish. This tradition remains a large part of our commercial fishing culture and us Mainers take great pride in having the best bluefin tuna as a statement of summer.
Two main organizations regulate the bluefin tuna population. The International Commission on Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) regulates all bluefin tuna fisheries while the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) manages domestic fisheries. Although highly migratory, the global bluefin population is recognized by ICCAT in two distinct biological stocks, the Eastern Atlantic (including the Mediterranean Sea) and the Western Atlantic stock (inclusive of our fish in the Gulf of Maine). The restricted quotas for allowable catch established by both groups works to maintain a sustainable population of the Western and Eastern bluefin tuna. Fishing within these guidelines, commercial Maine fisherman most hold permits, abide by a seasonal quota, and can land only three bluefin per boat per day.
Quality for Cooking
These gigantic fish swim fast in tropical and temperate waters around the world. While some have been known to reach over 14 feet in length and weigh over 2,000 pounds, most of our commercial landings are 300-400 pounders. Shaped like a bullet, they have a steel blue-black upper body and silver side and bottom, with distinctive yellow flashing on their dorsal finlets. Every Gulf of Maine bluefin tuna we purchase is graded on site to confirm its quality rating. We use a sashibo
(a Japanese-made sharp metal probe that removes a thin core from the fish) and evaluate the flesh for color, visible fat content, and texture. Once it passes our inspection, our fillet team butchers loin and toro cuts to order.
Bluefin stays fresh for 10 days and tastes great when served raw as sushi, sashimi, nigiri-sushi and in tartare
, carpaccios or as crudo
. For those who like to put heat to their bluefin, a light sear tataki
style like a medium rare steak on the grill or under the broiler makes a perfect dinner.