English: Atlantic Bonito
Latin: Sarda sarda or sarda spp
Size + Weight:  Average today abt 40 -50 cm  abt 2,5 kg
Biggest Angled Fish:  12 lb. 14 oz., Portugal Madeira Island, 1979, Karl Ziegenfuss
Catching Areas:  South Chinese Sea, Northern Mediterranean, Parts of the Black Sea, Parts o the Indian Ocean, North-East Atlantic Ocean
Catching Methods:  Mostly purse seining
Share of all Tuna Caught:  Less then 1%
Main Production Areas: Greece, Turkey, Thailand, Indonesia, Spain (Bonito Del Norte)
Spawning Areas:  Within coastal waters
Life Cycle:  About 1-2 years
Major Markets:  Turkey, Greece, Spain, Western-Europe
Popular Product Forms:  Fried Cooked CannedBonito is a species associated with the tuna family, but cannot be marketed as Tuna in many countries.
Bonito is quite popular as a fried fish with olive oil, especially in the Mediterranean  region. Due to its small size, and firm dark meat it is well fit for this purpose. The species is mostly fished in coastal water by small local vessels. The catches tend to be quite seasonal.                           
Product characteristics: The bonito meat has a firm texture and a darkish color, however small / young bonito can also have quite a light color, close to that of skipjack. This is one of the reasons why it is sometimes used as a cheaper substitute of skipjack tuna, especially for canning purposes. The bonito has a moderate fat content.
Future Supply: Due to the fact that bonito are caught by relatively small vessels and in several local regions, also as by-catch, it is quite hard to determine what the supply will be or is. Catching volumes  in the Black sea and Mediterranean have been decreasing during the last decade. The catches in the Golf of Thailand, along the Birmese Coast, and South China Sea supply the canned tuna industry. The size of the fish tends to become smaller, the supply is irregular and quite limited.

The Atlantic bonito is an epipelagic, neritic, schooling tuna species that can adapt to gradual but not sudden changes in the environment and may occur in water temperatures between 12º and 27º.
Distinctive Features:
Upper jaw of an Atlantic bonito has 16 to 26 teeth; lower jaw has 12 to 24 teeth; vomerine teeth can sometimes be present. The first dorsal fin has 20 to 23 spines, with fin base of 29.1 to 33% of fork length. The dorsal finlets usually have 8 rays; the anal fin 14 to 17 and anal finlets usually 7. The pectoral fin has 23 to 26, but usually 24 or 25 rays.

The Atlantic bonito can be distinguished by its oblique dorsal stripes, which are at a greater angle than in other species of Sarda.
Size, Age, and Growth:
The maximum fork length in the black sea is 85 cm with a weight of 5 kg; the largest fish caught in the Western Atlantic is reported of having a length of 91.4 cm fork length weighing at 5.4 kg; but more common size is of 50 cm fork length and about 2 kg of weight. The all-tackle angling record is a 7.6 kg fish with a fork length of 78 cm taken in the Canary Islands in 1980. The minimum length at maturity is about 39.5 in males and 40.5 cm in females.
In most parts of the Mediterranean Sea spawning occurs between May and July, but off Algerian coastline it extends from March to May. In the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from December to June, with peaks in January and April, and in Moroccan waters from June to July. In the northwestern Atlantic, bonitos spawn in June and July.
The Atlantic bonito disperse their eggs in the eastern Atlantic Ocean between December and June and the peak is reached in January.

The bonito tuna is not listed in the IUCN redlist database.


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