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Huge Bluefin Tuna Cutting Show at Tensuke Market


• The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Cutting Show was held at Tensuke Market in Elk Grove on September 26, and many people gathered to watch the show. A 620-pound-bluefin tuna that was caught offshore of Boston, MA was then brought to the store by a refrigerator truck, not by a freezer one.
• Because of the enormous size of the fish, professional skills were required to cut it, so Hidemi Ikeda, who was the manager and chief sushi chef of Sea Ranch in Evanston, came to do it. He has 50 years of experience in cutting fish.

• While Ikeda was cutting the fish, Takashi Thomas Sugiyama, President of Tensuke Market, spoke about the bluefin tuna. He has been in the tuna purchasing business since the 1970s and knows about the fish from A to Z. He also caught giant tunas by himself: a 640-pound tuna in 1986 and a 965-pound tuna in 1989.

• The bluefin tuna’s swimming speed is very high. A tuna of over 1,000 pounds can swim at a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour. A tuna of 340 pounds can reach a speed in excess of 45 miles per hour in a shout burst. When the tuna swims in a high speed, the back fin goes inside the body, and the side fin folds to attach to the body. Its swimming power comes from its swinging tail fin.

• In 1980, the Atlantic bluefin tuna caught were about 600 pounds to 800 pounds, and sometimes over 1,000 pounds. An 800-pound tuna is about 20 years old. The 620-pound tuna at the show was about 15 years old. The largest Atlantic bluefin tuna caught near Nova Scotia in 1979 was 1,496 pounds.

• The Western Atlantic bluefin tuna reaches maturity at 8 years old and its weight is about 235 pounds, according to the National Marine Fisheries information. It spawns in the Gulf of Mexico.
• At 10 years old, the tuna reaches over 6 feet, 6 inches in length and 340 pounds in weight. Each tuna can spawn 30 million eggs, but only one or two tuna survive in a growing period.

• Small Western Atlantic tuna lives near the coast of Florida. The tuna eats shrimp, squid, octopus, and small fish. Adult tuna feed primarily on larger fish such as sardines, anchovy, herring, sand eel, mackerel, and blue fish.

• When the tuna become 2 or 3 years old, they travel up to the north with the Gulf Stream along the coast from Florida to New Jersey and Long Island, New York during the summertime. In the fall, they come back to the south around the Florida area in September.
• When they become about 10 years old, they travel further north, up to the coast of Massachusetts and Maine. They return to the south in wintertime.
• When they reach more than 20 years old, they can travel all the way north to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and the Grand Banks in Canada, and return to the south in wintertime.

• The National Marine Fisheries checked the cruising speed of a school of tuna by a satellite going up to the north with the Gulf Stream. The speed was around 40 miles per hour, and they swam in 400-foot deep water at the edge of the continental shelf. The Gulf Stream’s current speed is 5.6 miles per hour.

• The Atlantic bluefin tuna are able to thermoregulate so that they can keep their body temperature warmer than the surrounding water.
• The tuna must swim throughout their lifetime because they intake water from their mouth and absorb oxygen from sea water through the gill.
• The tuna does not have an air bladder; thus, they can quickly broach to the surface from deep water. They can also jump up in the air 10 to 13 feet above the surface of the water.

• During the cutting show, nakaochi, meat around the bone, was served to the audience, and everyone enjoyed tasting the fresh tuna meat.