Known as Buní wowo grandi in Papiamentu, the Bigeye Tuna (Thunnus obesus) and is one of three tuna species found in the Dutch Caribbean. Bigeye Tuna are pelagic species, meaning they prefer to stay in the islands’ deeper, open ocean. They are an important source of food and revenue to all Dutch Caribbean Islands, both through commercial fishing and recreational game fishing. On Curaçao, they are primarily targeted by long-line vessels and exported to the U.S.
Sadly, this tuna species is overfished globally and the IUCN Red List lists them as Vulnerable due to overfishing and incidental bycatch, particularly in the Pacific. According to a recent assessment, the Southern Caribbean population is not yet over-exploited, however the population biomass in the Atlantic decreased 40% over the last two decades. If managed sustainably, the Bigeye Tuna could thrive in Dutch Caribbean waters – the species has a lifespan of up to 12 years and reproduces quickly, with two spawning events a year during which females release around six million eggs. For those of you who enjoy fresh fish when eating out, give the Bigeye Tuna a break and enjoy some more sustainable choices such as Mahi Mahi (also known as Dolphinfish or Dorado) or Wahoo (Ocean Barracuda).