Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi)

Yellowfin Tuna Flavor Scale

Fresh Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) is a delicious fish which lends itself best to grilling or searing cooking applications. It is best served as sushi or cooked rare to medium-rare. Over-cooked tuna is “dog food”…tough and tasteless like eating cardboard.

Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) Flavor Profile

Yellowfin Tuna has a medium-mild flavor with very firm texture.  Compared to other Tunas it is less flavorful than Bigeye but more flavorful than Albacore.  The flesh is deep red while raw, is often used for sashimi, and is best not cooked well-done as it looses flavor and becomes like cardboard.

Tuna Grading

Tuna Grading is as follows:
No. 1 “Sashimi-grade” is the best, being the freshest and having the highest fat content.
Sub-grades of No. 1 Sashimi include: #1++ (best), #1+, #1
No. 2 “Grill-grade” is next best. No. 3 and No. 4 are lesser quality.
Sashimi Grade #1++
raw Ahi Sashimi #1++
Sashimi Grade #1+
raw Ahi Sashimi #1+
Sashimi Grade #1
raw Ahi Sashimi #1
Sashimi Grade #2
raw Ahi #2photos by


Typical Cooking Methods

  • Bake
  • Broil
  • Deep-Fry
  • Grill
  • Poach
  • Saute
  • Smoke
  • Steam
  • Sushi

Alternate Names

Ahi (Hawaiian). Note: Bigeye Tuna is also sometimes called Ahi, but the term usually applies to Yellowfin.

Description (Thunnus albacares)

Ahi - Yellowfin TunaImage from Wikipidia- licensing info

Yellowfin Tuna have a distinctive yellow dorsal fin and yellow strip along its sides. The second dorsal fin and the, as well as the finlets between those fins and the tail, are bright yellow, giving this fish its common name. The pectoral fins are also longer than the related bluefin tuna, but not as long as those of the albacore. The main body is very dark metallic blue, changing to silver on the belly, which has about 20 vertical lines. It can grow to 300 Lbs but average commercial size is 8-20 Lbs.

Storage & Handling Recommendations

Store fresh loins/steaks as close to 33° as possible to maintain highest quality and shelf life. Although ice can be used, the flesh should be tightly wrapped in plastic and placed in perforated pans. The flesh should never come in direct contact with ice or water as this will discolor the meat, leech the oil content, and decrease shelf-life. Tightly wrapping in plastic will also slow the natural oxidation of the meat color which fades from a bright color to a darker, more opaque color.

Typical Wholesale Products

Loins-Skin/On Bloodline-In (12 – 20 lb Avg.)
Loins-Skin/Off Bloodline-Out

Fresh Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi) Availability

Fresh seafood availability chart: green areas show peak availability, light green show limited availability, gray indicates not available fresh. Frozen available all year long.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


Ahi (Yellowfin Tuna) Butchering Yield Percentage and Recovery

Item To Skin/On Untrimmed Loins To Skin/Off B/L- Out Loin To Skin/Off Steaks To Sashimi Notes
Whole Head/Off gutted 70% 55% 50% 35% 13% for Poke and 2-piece steaks. Taken from outside edge of the eye.
Skin/On Loins, Blood Line-In 83% 72% If you have additional yield info on this fish please leave a comment below.
Yield % varies according to a number of factors including: size of fish, season, sex, and the skill of your fishmonger.


How to Fillet Ahi Tuna

Here’s a tutorial video of how to break down an Ahi into loins. Notice how clean the carcass is after he finishes!

Range & Habitat

Yellowfin Tuna are found in warm waters all over the world. In US markets the best Yellowfin are harvested from southern California, Hawaii, Mexico, the Gulf of Mexico and Florida.

Yellowfin Tuna Sustainability Info

Name Alternate Names Catch Method Catch
Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares Ahi, Canned White Tuna, Maguro Wild – Handline, Pole, Troll US Atlantic & Pacific, Gulf of Mexico Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png unknown
Western Pacific Yellow-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png Green-icon_20.png
Worldwide except US Atlantic & Pacific Yellow-icon_20.png n/a Yellow-icon_20.png Moderate
Indian Ocean Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Wild – Longline US Atlantic,  Hawaii Yellow-icon_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Worldwide except US Atlantic & Pacific Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Wild – FAD Purse Seine Worldwide Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png
Wild – Unassociated Purse Seine Western Pacific Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Green-icon_20.png
Atlantic, Eastern & Central Pacific, Indian Ocean Red-Dot_20.png Red-Dot_20.png Yellow-icon_20.png
Disclaimer: The sustainability info above is accurate to the best of our knowledge. However, each program randomly updates their information without our knowledge. We therefore recommend that you verify the current accuracy of this information.
Green-icon_20.png = Best Choice/Recommended     Yellow-icon_20.png = Good Alternative     Red-Dot_20.png = Avoid/Not Recommended Updated
August 2013


Nutritional Information

based upon a 6 oz (171 grams) raw edible serving.

* Calories/Calories from fat 185
* Protein grams 40.1
* Fat grams 1.5
* Saturated fat grams .3
* Sodium milligrams 63
* Cholesterol milligrams 77
* Omega-3 grams .3
more Yellowfin Tuna Ahi nutrition


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Jada Tullos Anderson

Hey guys – thanks for the great site. While googling, I saw your tables on Scribd and wanted to make sure y’all were aware and ok that they’re up there:

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