How Do They Kill Bluefin Tuna?

Some individuals favor sticking a tiny metal spike into the brain region, which is situated on top of the head between the eyes, to spike the tuna. Although it is a highly speedy and gentle technique to kill the tuna, this method also stops the heart from pumping too quickly.

Gloucester, Massachusetts, Bluefin Tuna Fishing

Never gaff in the throat where the heart is because it will bleed out while you are swimming; always gaff through the head. Then, we’ll drag it back to the boat using the tail rope and let it die. NOTE: We’ve discovered that a 3/8″ nylon braid dock line with a spliced eye loop offers us a more stable grasp on the smaller tail of these fish than the rubber coated wire and carabiner tail ropes we use for giants. In order to access the major arteries, we will first drag the fish up high on the transom using its tail rope. We will then make a cut behind one or both pectoral fins that is about 2 inches broad and 1 inch deep. Prior to realizing it wasn’t necessary and that cutting too deeply causes serious issues, we used to also create a bleed incision on the tail.

The Bluefin Tuna will then be towed while having its gills raked with a gaff or, preferable, a harpoon iron. The fish should bleed out quite fast as a result. When the fish’s blood flow stops and it doesn’t seem to be moving much, we drag it onto the deck by the tail rope, snap a few quick photos with the anglers, and then start dressing it. The shelf life of tuna steaks in the refrigerator can be significantly shortened by leaving the fish on the deck in the sun for merely 15-20 minutes. The fish’s high core temperature is your enemy, therefore you want to cool it off as soon as you can.


In Carloforte, southwest of San Pietro island in Sardinia, hundreds of bluefin tunas are caught in traps called “tonnaras” every year between late May and early June as they migrate to certain breeding sites. The tunas are caught in the “tonnaras” and killed there using a sophisticated network of nets. The Carloforte tuna slaughter, as it is known, causes thousands of people great suffering and death.

Mobile traps are the primary method used to capture tunas in the Mediterranean Sea, however conventional fixed traps are also employed in Carloforte’s tuna slaughter.

The tunas are compelled to swim through a network of fixed nets that lead into a number of enclosed spaces when they travel throughout the breeding season. Once they have traveled through these net corridors, they arrive at the “death zone,” where the animals are gathered and killed. This is done to the shouts of “Kill!” from the “Rais” (a word that has Arabic origins and refers to those responsible for the management of the killing). As the tuna are pulled upward by moving nets in the “death zone,” the slaughter of them begins. The tunas are propelled to the surface of the sea. Due to a scarcity of room and water, the tunas collide furiously until they are pushed to the water’s surface, where they exhaust themselves. They inevitably suffer injuries during this process, and soon after, they are harpooned. It’s a horrifying scene when hundreds of panicked, dying people start flailing around in the water.

How the cast of “Wicked Tuna” Prevents Fish From “Burning”

Freezer burn destroys the quality and flavor of the meat, as every Wicked Tuna fan who consumes meat is aware. When all of those delicious juices evaporate, you’re left with a dry fish that tastes like the icebox’s bottom. Gross.

But before it gets to the pier, tuna meat can also degrade due to freezer burn. Anglers actually follow a precise procedure to guarantee that the meat is top-notch from the time it touches the floor of the boat.

The anglers must “bleed” the fish before hauling it aboard, as the Reddit respondent hinted to in his response regarding Wicked Tuna. In order for the tuna to bleed out stress-free, they must use a gaff hook to pierce its face or tail. The crew must then degill the fish, spike its brain, and place a rod down its spine in that precise order once it is on the boat. All of this is done to stop the fish from moving and make it as sensitive as possible before wrapping it in rice paper and setting it on ice.

Although it may seem like overkill, each step is essential. Who, after all, wouldn’t go to such lengths to ensure the seafood stays fresh when decent tuna costs $20 per pound?

Four Arguments Against Tuna Eating

The trapping and killing of animals for the tuna industry is not only horrible for the environment and for human health, but it is also hell for the animals.

The trapping and killing of animals for the tuna industry is not only horrible for the environment and for human health, but it is also hell for the animals. The tuna industry is cruel to animals in four different ways.

FISH CAN FEEL PAIN: Science has repeatedly shown that fish are capable of feeling fear and pain, and they can suffer just like other animals. Despite this, the Humane Slaughter Act does not provide protection for fish in the US. This implies that people are executed in a number of agonizing methods, regardless of the pain they experience prior to passing away.

Fishers usually club or stab tuna with harpoons once they are out of the water in an effort to kill them. LONG AND PAINFUL DEATHS The tuna frequently needs to be struck several times before it succumbs. Their final moments on earth are characterized by unfathomable dread, fear, and suffering.

OTHER ANIMALS SUFFER: There are a number different ways to catch tuna, and a lot of them end up mistakenly catching other fish or aquatic creatures, such sharks, dolphins, and turtles. These additional creatures, referred to as “bycatch” in the trade, are either snagged as they eat tuna bait when longline fishing or are caught in nets alongside the tuna. Bycatch causes hundreds of thousands of non-target animals to perish needlessly each year.

Foie Gras is a “delicacy” that causes animals such agony that it is forbidden to produce it in a number of nations. Help us put an end to the terrible force-feeding of birds by taking action!

How is tuna killed in Japan?

Fish are killed using the Ikejime (Huo keDi me) or Ikijime (Huo kiDi me) technique, which also preserves the quality of the meat. Although the method was invented in Japan, it is now widely used. It entails the rapid and precise insertion of a spike into the hindbrain, which is often found just behind and above the eye and causes immediate brain death. To stop any additional muscle action once the brain has been spiked, a fine needle or wire is introduced into the spinal column. When a fish is properly spiked, its fins flare and it relaxes, immediately stopping all movement. Reflex actions would otherwise deplete adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the muscle, producing lactic acid and ammonia, turning the fish sour, mushy, and less flavorful. By destroying the fish’s brain and spinal cord, this can be avoided. Additionally, the blood that is present in fish flesh retracts to the stomach cavity, improving the color and flavor of the fillet and extending its shelf life. This technique is thought to be the quickest and kindest way to kill fish. Restaurants prefer ikejime-killed fish because it ages the fish better and develops more umami.

It is extremely similar to spiking, sometimes known as pithing, a method employed on frogs in lab settings.

The following method is specified in the APEC Air transport of live and fresh fish and seafood guidelines: “The spinal cord and a major artery are both severed by an incision made near the front of the flatfish. The incision is positioned to conserve the most flatfish flesh possible. The flatfish becomes paralyzed as a result. In the tail, a second cut is made to speed up blood evacuation. After that, flatfish are slowly frozen to maintain circulation and speed up the bleeding process. The flatfish are placed in a salt/ice water slurry and cooled to -12 degrees Celsius after being bled.”

Ikejime, which offers a quick slaughter method, has been effectively applied manually in the tuna and yellowtail sectors as well as in a limited amount of recreational and game fishing. Ikejime is utilized instead of cutting their throats and letting the fish bleed to death, and the fish are then immediately placed into ice.

What happens to the bluefin tuna’s head and tail?

A hooked tuna begins to swim in circles in an effort to free itself. When exposed to water that is 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal, tuna can elevate their body temperature, thus frying the fish from the inside out. The temperature falls as things begin to settle down. And now is the time to reel the fish in. Ikejime is a technique that is performed after the fish has been hauled into the boat. In order to render the fish unconscious and preserve the meat’s freshness, fishermen will insert a long metal rod into the fish’s spinal column. This guarantees that when the fish is bled, there won’t be a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle.

The tuna is gutted after the Ikejime procedure, and the fish is then placed in an ice hold with sea water. The goal is to fast lower the body’s temperature to just above freezing. To allow the blood to drain, the fish remain in the slurry with their bellies down. A sizable portion of the catch will be rated as #1 if everything is done correctly and there are no temperature changes. This procedure not only guarantees a high-quality product for the consumer, but it also benefits the fishermen by encouraging them to produce the highest-quality fish possible to increase the value of the harvest.

The head and tail of the fish are cut off as they are unloaded from the boats, and they then go through their initial grading procedure. A grading report is included with every fish shipment. However, the quality of the flesh is more significant than the color and appearance of the skin.

Finally, we start the second grading process after receiving the fish fresh at Samuels. All the tunas are lined up in our cutting room before we take a small sample from the tail, which has the smallest diameter. The fish’s tail should have the finest appearance because it is the first place the fish goes to cool off. The next step is to extract a core sample from directly beneath the fin all the way through the belly. This is the final component to cold and the final component to spoil, making it a fantastic sign of quality. To obtain a sample, the flesh is pierced with a long metal tool called a “Sashibo.”

What are we trying to find? Those two Cs. Clarity and color. Red Gatorade or Red Jello provide for a fantastic starting point.

#2: Slight color and clarity loss. suitably cured for use in poking or other applications.

#3: A little more opaque, “grill grade,” which, when consumed uncooked, has a bitter flavor. Continually grill.

The ultimate grade of the fish is calculated using all of this data. The fish is then prepared for delivery to our clients, where you may enjoy it.