World Tuna Day has been celebrated annually on the 2nd of May since 2016, when the United Nations General Assembly voted to officially observe the awareness day.

What is World Tuna Day?

The most recent research suggests that over a third of worldwide tuna stocks are being fished at unsustainable levels. World Tuna Day aims to raise awareness of the current situation and emphasise the importance of conservation management for the future of tuna populations.


Tuna are fish that live in tropical and temperate oceans around the world. There are 15 species, with the Atlantic bluefin the biggest, growing to lengths of up to 15ft (over 4m) and weighing up to 1,500lbs or 600kg. Their length usually averages at around 2m of 6ft and they are thought to live to 50 years.

Fast swimmers, tuna have streamlined bodies designed for speed. They can reach up to 40mph (70kph). They are an apex predator and feed on a varied diet, including fish and squid. Dolphins and tuna are often found swimming together, with dolphins frequently used by fisherman as an indicator of the presence of tuna.

Tuna will migrate long distances, sometimes even travelling across entire oceans! Fish have been observed migrating from their birthplace in the Gulf of Mexico, across the Atlantic to feed off the coast of Europe, before going back to Mexico to breed themselves.


Tuna is fished for food and sport around the world. They are the most commercially valuable fish species globally.

Large tuna can be a real challenge for fisherman to catch and can even cause injuries to sport fishermen trying to reel them in!

Four species make up most of the tuna market – skipjack, yellowfish, bigeye and albacore. Despite being arguably the most well-known species, bluefin only make up around 1% of the global catch of tuna.

Tuna Conservation

Sadly, with the large demand for tuna across the world, there are many unregulated fisheries and illegal practices taking place. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation most tuna stocks are fully exploited. with the targeting of young migratory fish, using big nets, proving a significant problem.

Tuna is important throughout the world -numerous countries relying on tuna resources for food, nutrition, and livelihood of communities. The economic importance of tuna is huge, and the continued overfishing of the fish will be detrimental.

FAO’s Common Oceans Tuna Project aims to ensure that all major tuna stocks are fished at sustainable levels by 2027.

Ready to start your ocean exploring journey? To sign up and become an Ocean Explorer today click here. While you wait for your first class, why not follow us on Facebook, where we regularly share fun facts, craft ideas and cute videos. You might also like to sign up to our monthly WiseKids newsletter for a monthly dose of marvellous marine-themed content straight to your inbox!

WiseOceans Academy Home

Public Sessions via Outschool

Join our Facebook Club

Sign up to our Newsletter

More Academy Blogs