Saturday, August 29, 2009

Acronyms for tuna and bonito species: ALB, BET BFT, SBT, SKJ, and YFT

Tunas belong, along with mackerels and bonitos, to the Scombridae family. Members of this family make a lot of headlines as food fishes and as animals that face extinction due to overfishing. The shift from fishing to farming and breeding tuna may help to support tuna conservation efforts. With so much talk (and much less research, unfortunately) about tuna, it should not be any surprise, that some tuna (and one bonito) species come with three-letter acronyms:
  • ALB: albacore (Thunnus alalunga);
  • BET: bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus);
  • BFT: bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), alko known as northern bluefin;
  • SBT: southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii), considered a subspecies of Thunnus thynnus by some ichthyologists;
  • SKJ: skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis), also known as arctic bonito, oceanic bonito and as aku in Hawaiian;
  • YFT: yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), named ahi in Hawaiian.

The blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus) obviously did not make it into the three-letter-acronym league of tunacronyms. Maybe as blue-black back tuna (BBT) or golden-yellow-banded tuna (GBT or GYT) it has a better chance. Richard Ellis, in Chapter 9 with the title The Bluefin's Popular Little Cousins in his Tuna book [1], characterizes the blackfin, colorwise, as follows: “the blackfin is blue-black on the back, with a golden yellow band that runs from eye to tail but fades soon after death.”

[1] Richard Ellis: Tuna • Love, Death and Mercury. First Vintage Books Edition, July 2009.

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