Bonito Fish: Characteristics, habitat, properties and more

The bonito fish, which means beautiful fish in Spanish, or bonito from the Atlantic Ocean; is a species that is very similar to the white tuna. In fact many specialists agree that it should belong to the family of tuna, however this statement  is not official yet.

bonito fish: atlantic bonito



They are fish of shallow tropical  water;  which represent many commercial benefits for those who fish them ,since they are quite consumed worldwide. The bonitos have a strong contexture compared to other fish, so many people  confuse them or consider them a type of tuna ;  since as we have already mentioned  many people consider that they should belong to the same family.

Their body is elongated and very robust, characterized by a grayish color with dark tonalities. Their fins have small yellowish stripes, that spread to their tails. They can also have their bodies full of scales, depending mainly on how they are raised in the areas where they  develop. Their chest and abdominal area,  are more prominent than the rest of their body. They are very good swimmers; which often travel large areas of water at long distances.

Finally they can reach up to  3 meters in length;  although there are species that can measure much more.


These fish are usually located in deep areas although   they don´t hesitate to approach to the shore of tropical waters, when they consider that there is plenty of food for them. They tend to swim in large groups; and they have no problem adapting to different conditions in terms of food and habitat. It´s  usually  the male who manages to dive into the depths, creating different groups to carry out this activity.
They get along very well with other species of fish (like dolphins and whales) and can even migrate together.


This type of species can be found throughout the length and breadth of the Atlantic Ocean ; since they travel long distances. However, the Gulf of Mexico is their most common location, even sometimes the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea. There are species that can migrate to South America,  they  have been seen in several parts of Argentina during the summer, where they usually migrate from Brazil respectively. This distribution has furthered an economic  boom on their capture, due to the large migrations that they carry out .


Due to their travelling habits,  they don´t  have a specific habitat; since bonito fish usually make many migrations during the year . They tend to concentrate in large groups, migrating then towards temperate and tropical waters. Thus, it is no necessary a lot of research to know  the area where they develop eventually. They are considered as tropical fish because they like  warm waters, and the appropriate temperature for this species to survive, ranges between 18 and 31 ºC degrees.  Its main feature in terms of habitat, is that they are usually tocated in deep areas  during the day,  and at night they  look for shallow waters to optimize their rest.

 ¿What do Bonito Fish Eat?:

The bonito  fish is a species characterized by its great appetite, which makes them they consume large quantities of squid and crustaceans; that they find in their journeys, when they are in not so deep waters. They dive to deeper waters,  when they feel the need to consume smaller fish since they are highly carnivorous.

These specimens  feed on a large variety of fish, and they do so in large quantities, even their excess in food can affect their mobility for some time until they digest what they have consumed.

Their diet also includes crustaceans and mollusks, and they can swim at high speeds, which allows them capture very fast prey such as mackerel and some flying fish. They have  no problem in  swimming to the seashore in order to get food,  using  their sense  of sight which many people consider that they have quite developed.

 «Bonito» Fish Reproduction

In the same way than the red tuna,  the bonito fish reaches its maturity  between 4 and 8 years old, although it is not yet fully established that at this age they begin to reproduce. Many specialists consider, that this occurs a little earlier although it hasn´t  been totally confirmed.

The reproduction of these fish as most species,  usually takes place at the location where the females release their eggs, even if this means that they have to travel many kilometers for this, the red tuna particularly returns to the place where it considers its home.

There is no distinction between males and females, both can produce the required amounts  of sperm and eggs  for getting reproduced. The female has the possibility of producing at least 10 million eggs, which the male fertilize by three days at the latest.  The larvae that remain in the water face a big risk because they are an easy prey, for other fish and even birds.

In spite of the big amount of eggs produced by the female, few of them manage to survive their hunt, to become larvae and then in adult specimens. These young can weigh about 80 kilograms and can move away from the area where they grew up,  grouping with other species of fish, which may vary according to the size they have. All this happens, far from the care of their mothers.


There is not enough information about the total population of these fish nowadays.  The few statistics that have been obtained since  2005; confirm that this population  has  decreased  significantly. The Prolonged hunt of this species, which is mostly performed in Europe, has increased in huge way. The number of tons that are captured range from the 15,000 to 30,000  per month.

Several laws have been developed;  in order to protect this species and its habitat, however its captures keep rising, since the decrease of its population is not yet so significant, to put  him in the red list of endangered species..

Fishing «Bonito » Fish

There are two common ways of fishing the bonito.  The first one is the commercial fishing,  where traditional nets are used to catch it.  Then its meat is sold either fresh to Restaurants, or to processing companies that sell it in cans.

The second one is the sport fishing,  which  is quite different. This practice is focused  on the characteristics of the fish, and the fisherman tends to release it once captured. This practice is sort of hobby where the fisherman  enjoys  the speed of the bonito fish,  as well as  the force with which  it fights against its capture.

Sport Fishing .

As previously mentioned, we know that the bonito fish is found in very deep tropical waters around the world. So,  if you want to practice its fishing as a  sport, you  must take into account that the large species are those found in these depths,  and that will not be an easy task.

It is recommended that if you are a beginner  in the subject, you should try first with the species that you can find at the seashores, and once you are enough experienced, you could try  the desired large species. The most recommended baits are live fish or crustaceans, since they will capture their attention immediately.

It is important to be located  in areas with abandoned boats or dead animals,  since these are the places where these fish concentrate in large quantities.

Finally you must have a fishing equipment of high quality, if you go in search of them you should get the advice of experts, because for this type of species,  due to of its speed and size it is recommended to use  resistant fishing rods.

This type of sports is not harmful for this  species, on the contrary, more people join it since fishermen only enjoy admiring the characteristics of these fish,  without harming their condition and even more without altering their natural habitat.

Let´t  enjoy this video about this practice

Main Threats .

The bonito fish natural predators  represent their main threat.  We can list the sharks, birds, swordfish, among other species. Another big risk that is becoming  even more disturbing, is its  huge fishing  carried out by humans, since its meat is quite appreciated and consumed, because of  its  similarity  with other tuna.

Although many times, this type of commercial fishing is not carried out intentionally , and it  happens by simple chance or mistake in the calculations made for fishing others species.


Many experts believe, that although this is not an endangered species, if  human keep fishing them in an improper way, they could become an endangered one.  So, the fishermen must abide by the figures which were agreed  in the European Community in the year 2009 , and try to control all commercial fishing associations, in order to stop  the exploitation of this specie.

If the proper  regulations are not followed , in at least 15 years this fish could be placed inside the red list of endangered species, and the market would be totally out of control


This fish is commonly used in the Asian cuisine,  where people buy it mainly in cans.  However, many of these persons ignore, the nutritional properties of this fish, which are assimilated by our body when we include it in our diet.

The bonito fish,  as most marine species , is rich in vitamins, proteins, fats and minerals,  that help our body to be strong and healthy.  In turn, it contains a lot of nutrients that improve our health. However, due to the pollution of some  marine environments,  this fish may also contain high levels of  methyl mercury, that when consumed in excess can be harmful to the body.

The best option in these cases, is to consume it with  caution and to not abuse of this fish.  You can include it in your diet two or three days per week, alternating  it with other ingredients that contain the same benefits provided by the bonito fish.

Vitamin D and Phosphorus.

The content of  Vitamin D in conjunction with phosphorus, helps strengthening the bones . The content of phosphorus combined with calcium of another ingredient, helps tocreate new tissues for bones, and the vitamin D  is also quite useful, for  distributing  calcium correctly.

Potassium and vitamin B12.

The levels of potassium and vitamin B12 contained in the bonito fish, help strengthen the brain and nerve functions. Vitamin B12 is essential, since it helps the neurotransmitters of the brain  to remain in good working order, while potassium helps the communication between the brain and the nervous channels remain synchronized, which also helps prevent the various diseases that may occur in the future

Let´s keep learning about  about these properties

Benefits Of The Bonito Fish

The consumption of the bonito fish brings similar benefits,  than those provided  by yellowfin tunas. So, both of them are quite beneficial for health, and all the mentioned properties bring a lot of positive aspects to our body , helping also to prevent multiple diseases

Improves the Heart Functioning

Due to its high  levels of acids and omega 3, the consumption of the bonito fish furthers the reduction of the levels of cholesterol in the body, improving also the circulation of  blood through the arteries. It is important to know, that the cholesterol can produce several unwanted diseases; and the Omega 3 is quite useful to prevent heart attacks which can cause death.

Anti-inflammatory properties

The Omega-3 Acid,  is also known by its anti-inflammatory properties for the human body,  and the best thing is that it is found in large quantities in the bonito fish. The  consumption of the Omega 3 Acid,  prevents the constant inflammation of our body , since this type of fats  is processed  quickly in the body,  and at the same time it helps in the prevention of related diseases such as arthritis.

Effects on Blood Pressure.

The bonito provides large amounts of potassium,  which helps improve the circulation of blood  through the  blood vessels.

Increase the body´s energy.

Vitamin B12  also helps to keep the body full of energy, making also the metabolism work better in terms of food processing.

Blood Circulation.

Another huge contribution of the consumption of the bonito fish, lies  in the  levels of iron  it contains,  which are the necessary ones for our body. The iron  is an essential mineral, for the creation  of red blood cells,  and it also improves the circulation of the bloodstream and prevents diseases. The fact of  helping in the creation  of red blood cells, benefits the body,  since the risk of suffering from anemia decreases. The risk of not having  enough oxygen  in the brain  also decreases; when consuming the proper amount of iron.

It protects the body´s  cells .

The antioxidants that this fish contains,  act as a protective layer for the cells of the body, keeping them in good condition and healthy to ensure their proper functioning.

It Controls and decreases the risks of depression.

In the case of women it is totally confirmed,  that the consumption of bonito fish, helps to prevent the risks of depression, or to control this condition if it already exists.

Brain Diseases Prevention

According to recent stats and studies, the  consumption of the bonito fish has  important benefits  for preventing brain diseases, especially in people of advanced age.  These studies also showed, that a small serving of this fish,  reduces up to 30%  any problem that can arise, due to the lack of pumping blood and oxygen to the brain.


Another important benefit  of the consumption of this fish, is the significant reduction in the levels of triglycerides in the blood. It is important to know ,  that high levels of triglycerides, equal to high index of fat, that tend to plug veins and arteries

They help create an immune system.

The selenium provided by this species, helps the organism creates immunity,  since it increases  the levels of white blood cells,  which is quite beneficial.  This mineral prevents  infections or diseases constantly, as it acts as a defense layer and protection against them.

Diseases Prevented by the Consumption of Bonito fish.

Due to all the benefits aforementioned, the consumption of this species is quite beneficial for the human body.  It is an excellent complement, for  various functions performed by our body, since it reduces  significantly any type of diseases that may be associated with  its properties.

 Its high contents of Omega 3 and fats help our body.

This type of nutrients that are quite beneficial,  help  the elderly to be protected  from various diseases that may arise, such as cardiovascular diseases. The  consumption of these fats  as well as the Omega-3 acid, prevents the blockages of the arteries.

Now…. let´s watch this interesting video


Vitamins and minerals

The contribution in terms of minerals, provided by the bonito fish;  is much higher than  that of other proteins such as meat, dairy products and eggs.  Moreover, in a single serving  of this fish, we  find vitamin B (2-3-6-9-12) and vitamin E, as well as the main minerals such as magnesium and selenium.

It  lowers the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood.

In addition,  it contains natural fats;  which are not considered as harmful to our  health;  on the contrary, they help to prevent heart diseases and  high blood pressure. Its consumption,  also helps  reduce further risks  in people who already suffers from some of them.

Low Calories Content

If you are making diet, because you need to take care of your body or simply for health complications, the consumption of this fish will be quite useful.  Its meat has few fats ;so it promotes the loss of weigh

 It improves brain activities.

There are many studies that suggest, that the consumption of the bonito fish by the elderly, helps prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Moreover, there are evidences regarding the benefits of  this food, to improve the motor functions of the brain


Consequences of Abusing  in the Consumption Of «Bonito» Fish.

The content of methyl mercury in this fish, is its only related bad aspect. This fact, which is caused by the pollution of the oceans, can be harmfull  for the human body especially when we talk about women who are breastfeeding their babies. In others cases, the methyl mercury can promote the loss of vision, as well as respiratory deficiencies.

If you suffer from problems in your  kidneys you shouldn’t consume this fish more than once per week, since you could suffer from kidney failure over time.

In addition, it´s  quite recommended to consume the bonito fish when it´s   fresh  instead of canned or processed, since it might contain  more chemicals and bigger amounts of  methyl mercury, to preserve it much more time.

Finally, it is also important to know, that this fish is not recommended for children under 3 years old,  since it could be harmful for them.

Want to learn more ? Go ahead !

The «Bonito» Fish’ Economic Importance

The economic importance of this fish, lies in the huge amounts of these specimens that are fished every year;  which in some cases reach very high prices in the market. In countries such as Japan, the consumption of bonito fish occurs in large quantities; and has caused a lot speculation in its price.
In gastronomic terms;  it’s  considered that  the bonito fish’s meat, is a delight for the palate of any diner,  because of its resemblance to the flesh of other tunas. This fact  traps the fishermen forcing  them to explore their potential customers.


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