(Atlantic, Longline and Purse Seine)
Blackfin tuna caught with troll or pole-and-line methods are "Good Alternatives" while blackfin tuna caught with purse seines and longlines should be avoided due to serious bycatch concerns. Overall, little is known about the health of blackfin tuna populations due to a lack of data.
Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for Blackfin tuna due to elevated levels of mercury.
Unlike most tuna species that are highly migratory and may cross entire oceans, blackfin tuna has a narrow range and is limited to the western Atlantic Ocean. It's found from approximately Massachusetts to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Blackfin tuna reproduces at a young age and grows quickly, traits that make it resilient to fishing pressure.
The blackfin tuna fishery is small compared to other tuna fisheries and the fish itself is more popular with sport fishermen than with cooks.
Blackfin tuna is often caught in fisheries that target other tuna species, such as skipjack. Blackfin tuna is primarily caught by trolling or purse seines, but handlines, rod-and-reel and longlines are also used. Of these, trolling, handlines and rod-and-reel are preferred because they produce less bycatch. Longlines may result in high bycatch, including undersized tuna and endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and seabirds. The purse seine fishery also has high bycatch when used with fish aggregating devices (FADs) as these floating devices also attract turtles, sharks and other species that end up in the nets, dead or dying.
Blackfin tuna caught with handlines, rod-and-reel and trolling methods (collectively called "troll/pole") are a "Good Alternative." Consumers should "Avoid" blackfin tuna caught with purse seines and longlines because of bycatch as well a lack of effective management and uncertainty about population size.