If I eat a can of tuna, how many fish have I eaten?

If I’m remembering correctly the tuna I buy comes in 6 oz cans, which holds 3 servings – so each serving is 2oz.

So how many fish are in that one can?

And what’s the difference between chunk light and albacore, anyway?

You may want to check out this link:


showing a tuna, and rethink this question.

Tuna are big fish. It’s definitely many cans to one actual fish, not the other way around.

Depends on what you’re asking. If you’re asking how many parts of different fish are in the can, it could be anywhere from one to dozens. If you’re asking how many fish need to be processed to fill one can, it’s not even one. Tuna are rather large fish, and can grow to up to 1500 pounds or so.

How many? More properly, what portion of one have I eaten. The answer depends, of course, on the variety of tuna. Bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) are the biggest of the bunch and can weigh up to 1800 pounds. The very delicious yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is smaller—they can weigh up to 400 pounds. Albacore (Thunnus alalunga) is another, and smaller yet, variety of tuna—they weigh up to 65 pounds.

A tuna is a pretty big fish – they can range up to 300 pounds or more. It’s more a question of how many cans you can get from one tuna.

Albacore is a breed of tuna, while “chunk light” refers to the meat. Tuna has lighter and darker portions.

Incidentally, one whole tuna can cost over $10,000.


I had NO idea that tuna were that big!!! I always thought they were the size of catfish or so!!!


Yeah, that’s why they mix some dolphin in there, to cut the cost… :wink:

They [i[can* get pretty huge, but typically they’re a lot closer to 15-20 pounds. My brother bought one from a fisherman (for 30 or 40 bucks, IIRC), froze it, and used an electric saw to cut it into steaks. Even the cut up steaks were bigger than any can you’ll buy.

Wow. That must have been a pretty big can.

Dopers I think we can mark this one as a palpable hit in the fighting of ignorance.

Don’t feel bad, Abbie. Up until a few years ago, I thought Tuna were even smaller, more like minnows. Then I went to the Monterey Bay aquarium and saw one. :eek:

Here’s a link to a photo of the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo


Most of the fish in the first picture are tuna I believe.

Get yourself to a seafood restaurant and order a tuna steak. Baked, broiled or blackened. There is NO comparison to the tin can variety. ( and don’t ask for mayo on the side). :slight_smile:

Tinned tuna sold here in the UK is available in three basic grades (in descending order of cost):
-Steak (the meat in the can is a whole circular piece, very obviously cut from a single fish)
-Chunks (pieces of tuna steak up to about an inch cubed)
-Flakes (very often a mushy mass of very small pieces of meat)

Tins of chunks or flakes might very well contain pieces of meat from more than one actual fish (although obviously not the entire fish), depending on how they are handled at the processing plant.

Wow, I’ve never seen the ‘Steak’ grade on this side of the pond, just Chunk or Flake (or Grated). What are the price ratios?


Well, in a way, they are. The largest species of catfish can get pretty big, overlapping the range we are talking about for tuna. The record for the European Wels catfish, Silurus glanis, is given several places as 16 ft long, 675 lbs. Sport fishermen commonly catch 100 - 200 lb specimens:


Admittedly, the farmed channel catfish you find on your plate is much smaller.

Would you elaborate?
Is that a particular species?

Yes, the Bluefin Tjna. It is considered a choice fish in Japan ( under the name Hon-maguro ) for sashimi/sushi and a large specimen ( we’re talking many hundreds of pounds her ) can go for thousands. This site claims up to ~$70,000:

*Japan, which consumes 40 percent of global bluefin landings and relies on imported food for more than half its needs, features fresh fish as a significant part of its culture and diet. By the early 1970s, with the development of air freight, fresh giant Atlantic bluefin could reach Japan’s lucrative sushi market overnight.

This market development transformed the fishery as purse seiners, who previously caught small bluefin, began fishing exclusively for giant bluefin. In 1973, prices paid by Japanese importers skyrocketed from $.05 per pound to more than $1.00 per pound. (17) By 1986, Japanese importers were paying $12 per pound, while prices paid by buyers on the 1994 Tokyo market push $80 per pound for the high-prestige delicacy of prime fatty tuna. (18) In 1991, a Japanese importer paid a record price of $68,503 (or about $96.65 per pound) for a single giant bluefin tuna! These prices are the exception, however, since the average reported price (round weight basis) received by fishermen in 1994 was $8.79 per pound, with a reported range of $1.92 to $42.61 per pound. Thus, with bluefin market prices occasionally rivaling that of some illegal drugs and the unique bluefin behavioral traits, such as specific and precise migratory patterns and surface schooling, harvesters continued to locate and profit from catching bluefin tuna at very low population densities. This lucrative economic opportunity underscores the importance of cooperative international management in regulating the commercial exploitation of this highly migratory species.*


  • Tamerlane