Fisheries Infosite

Skipjack All NZ Fisheries (SKJ1)
Scientific name
Katsuwonus pelamis

Physical characteristics

Skipjack Tuna are a dark purplish-blue, with 4-6 stripes along the body and a silver-white underside. They can grow to a maximum length of 110 cm.

Life cycle

Skipjack Tuna have a maximum age of 12 years, though it is thought that very few fish live past 5 years. They are fast growing, and relatively short lived. Spawning occurs year-round in tropical waters.


Skipjack Tuna can be found in Northern waters between December and April. They migrate to warmer waters for the winter months. They are surface swimmers that feed on crustaceans, fish and cephalopods.

Key statistics
Recreational significance Medium
Customary significance Medium
Reported commercial catch1 (tonnes)
Quota value estimate2 (NZ$m)
Exports estimate2 (NZ$m)
1 Reported commercial catch is calculated for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025
2 Quota value and exports are calculated pro-rata to reported commercial catch for the 12 month period to 30/09/2025