Southern Bluefin Tuna

Thunnus maccoyii

One of Eyre Peninsula’s most famous fisheries is without a doubt, Southern Bluefin Tuna.

SBT are captured live in the Great Australian Bight between December and March before being transferred to tow pontoons, each holding approximately 9,000 fish. They are then slowly towed the several hundred kilometre journey home, before finally being transferred to smaller pontoons located in the clear waters of the Spencer Gulf, for the rest of the season.

Here, the tuna are “ranched”, and mostly fed a diet of local sardines over the grow-out period, which lasts anywhere between 3-6 months. There is no minimum size limit for Southern Bluefin Tuna.

When the time comes to harvest (approximately March through until August), divers herd the fish onto conveyors leading up to the boat where they are immediately euthanized, gilled and gutted by the experienced deck crew.


A strict program of zones, quotas and licensing – along with Port Lincoln’s innovative ranching system – has aided the development of our now sustainable Southern Bluefin Tuna fishery. Since ranching began, the fishery has recovered dramatically. Today the SBT industry is sustainable-certified, is the “single most valuable sector of South Australia’s aquaculture industry” (PIRSA, 2012), and among the most sustainable tuna fisheries in the world.

Culinary Notes

Southern Bluefin Tuna has 3 traditional cuts: akami (red) this is the dark, ruby coloured, top loin, shoulder, and tail piece. It is clean firm in texture and has light, sweet notes. Otoro (big fat) is pinkish-white, well marbled; the fattiest part. It is soft, sweet, and buttery on the pallet. Chu-toro (medium fat) is both meaty and fatty. It is not as red as akami, and not as light as otoro. It presents a clean, rich, full flavour.

Tuna is both healthy (full of omega 3; the good fats), and delicious. It can be enjoyed in a variety of ways raw, just as it can be cooked. Delicious as sushi or sashimi, and hard to beat in steak-form or a kebab. A true crowd-pleaser – just don’t overcook!

Available forms

Whole fish from 15kg to 35kg +
Minus 60 degree sashimi-grade portions

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