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Fish #186 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus ~ Jo Mortimer
Fish #186 Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Thunnus thynnus ~ Jo Mortimer
Digital print + Acrylic Ink painting 28 x 35 cm
There's a tear underwater, shadows
breaking loose. Blue on blue.
School's out and tuna
are on the move.
Each a weightless heft
of muscle and bone.
Eyes flush to skin,
fired by the machinery
of stars and moon.
Blood banging in their head
as they sense shoals
of mackerel and herring.
Shifting up a gear they become
a blur in their fragile world.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is a species of tuna in the family Scombridae. It is variously known as the northern bluefin tuna, giant bluefin tuna (for individuals exceeding 150 kilograms or 330 lb) and formerly as the tunny. Atlantic bluefin are native to both the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. Atlantic bluefin have become extinct in the Black Sea. It may exceed 450 kg (990 lb) in weight. Besides their commercial value as food, the great size, speed, and power they display as apex predators has attracted the admiration of fishermen, writers, and scientists.
The Atlantic bluefin tuna has been the foundation of one of the world's most lucrative commercial fisheries. Medium-sized and large individuals are heavily targeted for the Japanese raw fish market, where all bluefin species are highly prized for sushi and sashimi. This commercial importance has led to severe overfishing. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) affirmed in October 2009 that Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have declined dramatically over the last 40 years, by 72% in the Eastern Atlantic, and by 82% in the Western Atlantic.
Most bluefin are captured commercially by professional fishermen using longlines, purse seines, assorted hook-and-line gear, heavy rods and reels, and harpoons. Recreationally, bluefin has been one of the most important big-game species sought by sports fishermen since the 1930s, particularly in the United States, but also in Canada, Spain, France and Italy.
The body of the Atlantic bluefin tuna is rhomboidal in profile and robust. The head is conical and the mouth rather large. The head contains a "pineal window" that allows the fish to navigate over its multiple thousands-of-miles range. The colour is dark blue above and grey below, with a gold coruscation covering the body and bright yellow caudal finlets.
Fully mature adult specimens average 2-2.5 m (6.6-8.2 ft) long and weigh around 225-250 kg (496-551 lb). The largest recorded specimen taken under International Game Fish Association rules was caught off Nova Scotia, an area renowned for huge Atlantic bluefin, and weighed 679 kg (1,497 lb) and 3.7 m (12 ft) long. They reach maturity relatively quickly. In a survey that included specimens up to 2.55 m (8.4 ft) in length and 247 kg (545 lb) in weight, none was believed to be older than 15 years. However, very large specimens may be up to 50 years old.
The bluefin possesses enormous muscular strength, which it channels through a pair of tendons to its lunate-shaped caudal fin for propulsion. In contrast to many other fish, the body stays rigid while the tail flicks back and forth, increasing stroke efficiency. It also has a very efficient circulatory system. It possesses one of the highest blood haemoglobin concentrations among fish, which allows it to efficiently deliver oxygen to its tissues; this is combined with an exceptionally thin blood-water barrier to ensure rapid oxygen uptake. To keep its core muscles warm, which are used for power and steady swimming, the Atlantic bluefin uses countercurrent exchange to prevent heat from being lost to the surrounding water. Heat in the venous blood is efficiently transferred to the cool, oxygenated arterial blood. While all members of the tuna family are warm-blooded, the ability to thermoregulate is more highly developed in bluefin tuna than in any other fish. This allows them to seek food in the rich but chilly waters of the north Atlantic. Bluefin dive to depths of 500 m (1,600 ft). They can reach speeds of 40 mph (64 km/h). The Atlantic bluefin tuna typically hunts small fish such as sardines, herring, and mackerel, and invertebrates such as squid and crustaceans.
Female bluefin are thought to produce up to 30 million eggs. Atlantic bluefin tuna spawn in two widely separated areas. One spawning ground exists in the western Mediterranean the other is in the Gulf of Mexico. They return to the same area and group together in large concentrations to spawn, and at such times are highly vulnerable to commercial fishing. This is particularly so in the Mediterranean, where the groups of spawning bluefin can be spotted from the air by light aircraft. In 2010, Greenpeace International added the northern bluefin tuna to its seafood red list.
Jo Mortimer - Fine & Digital Artist.
Guest artist at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Resident artist at Dartington.
Studied at Plymouth College of Art & Design. Lives in Tiverton, Devon.
Work ranges from local buildings & views, landscapes and seascapes to animals, figurative and contemporary abstract work. All original paintings are drawn and painted in acrylic inks.
Limited Edition prints are taken from original ink drawings and colour is added using computer technology, providing unique artworks in themselves.
Work selling at Galleries in the South West, also nationally, Internationally and regularly online.
Specialising in, and was originator of, "People Participation" artworks, involving hundreds of adults from the general public in creating an artwork.
Founded #pebbleart & #artbombing which involves painting artworks on pebbles and small board and leaving them for the public to find.
The Trios 2017 exhibition tour originator & director, involving photographers, poets and artists.
Regular 'Tweeter' and 'Facebooker' engaging the general public daily.
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