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Bigeye (Thunnus obesus) are found in the tropical and subtropical areas of the Atlantic (but not in the Mediterranean), Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Bigeye reach similar maximum sizes as yellowfin tuna.

In: FAO Species Catalogue, Vol. 2. Scombrids of the World (1983). Courtesy of Fisheries and Aquaculture Department/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Bigeye can form either free-swimming schools or schools associated with floating objects. Juvenile bigeye will form schools with juvenile yellowfin and skipjack tunas.

Bigeye accounted for about 7% of the 5.1-million-tonne global tuna catch in 2021.

Species Characteristics

  Size (cm) Weight (kg) Age (yrs)
Common 40–180  1.4–130  
Maximum 230  210  17
Maturity 102–135 25–57 3–4
Generation Length


Geographic Limits

  • From 55–60° N and 45–50° S
  • Juvenile and reproductively active adult bigeye are found in equatorial waters as well as at higher latitudes. 

Species Management

The following four bigeye stocks are assessed and managed by the RFMOs:

  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Eastern Pacific
  • Western Pacific
  • Indian Ocean

Bigeye Tuna Stock Status

Our Status of the Stocks report summarizes the status of bigeye tuna worldwide according to the most recent scientific assessments. The report includes:

  • Catch data
  • Graphics and charts
  • Ratings on stock abundance, fishing mortality, and fishing’s environmental or bycatch impact

It also reviews the management measures for bigeye that Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have adopted.


Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool

Use our interactive data-visualization tool to create and then download or share graphics on tuna stock status.

You can visualize data on 23 commercial tuna stocks (by species and ocean area) share of total catch, stock health trends, and catch trends over time.

ISSF 2023-02: An Evaluation of the Sustainability of Global Tuna Stocks Relative to Marine Stewardship Council Criteria

The Marine Stewardship Council scoring system was used to evaluate 23 stocks of tropical and temperate tunas, including the bluefin tuna stocks (added in 2021), throughout the world.

Bigeye Stock Health & Catch Trends

Use our “Interactive Stock Status and Catch Tool” to visualize, download, and share data about bigeye tuna:

  • Stock health since 2011
  • Current catch by fishing method
  • Catch trends by fishing method since 1950

Tuna Conservation

Our research and advocacy work aims to ensure, on a global level, that tuna resources are well managed and protected from overfishing.

Tuna Stock Evaluations

An ISSF report uses the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) scoring system to evaluate both the health and RFMO management of 23 tuna stocks worldwide, including bluefin.