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October 26, 2001

Yellowfins

Find out how big a yellowfin tuna can get.

Q: I like the pictures in your magazine of big tuna swimming away with tags in them. Here in Hawaii, big yellowfin tuna are a highly prized catch, but I have never seen a 400-pound yellowfin tuna. Do yellowfin die because of their weight? - Josh Bunch, Kona, Hawaii

A: As with all animals, the maximum size and weight a fish can reach are determined by its genes. Fish grow very quickly when they are young, then slow down as they get older. Big tuna can live 20 to 30 years. When they are fully grown, tuna might get fatter but usually not much longer, yet weight won't kill them. Yellowfin probably do reach 400 pounds or more since the all-tackle world record, caught off Mexico, was 388 pounds.