Our mascot ‘Thunnus tonggol or longtail tuna’ is an oceanodromous pelagic species and among the smaller members of the tuna family that is widely distributed from Indo-West Pacific Ocean to Red Sea and Somalia coast (FAO, 2015).
Longtail tuna have a fusiform body shape with silvery colourless at the ventral part of the body with elongate oval spots arranged horizontally. Dorsal, pectoral, pelvic and caudal fins are blackish in colour while anal fin is silvery with greyish finlets along the caudal region (FAO, 2015). Maximum recorded size was about 130 cm in fork length and body weight of 36 kg (IGFA, 2011). This species reaches first maturation at the age of two years old (Boonragsa, 1987) or when they reach 43 cm (Collette, 2010) with longevity approximately 18 years (Grifiths
et al., 2009).
According to FAO (2015), world landing catches of longtail tuna in 2013 was 221,827 tonnes. It is one of the most preferred sport fishing candidates. In Malaysia, longtail tuna or commonly referred to as “ikan tongkol” (local name) is an important food fish especially for the local community of East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia (Terengganu and Kelantan). Apart from the commercial fish markets, this fish is sold along the coastal line by local fishermen in Kuala Terengganu.
“Ikan tongkol” is often served with special local delicacy called “Nasi Dagang” (local name) cooked with “gulai” or sweet curry and served with pandan flavoured glutinous rice cooked with ginger as well as “Nasi Lemak” or Coconut Rice served with anchovy sauce and pandan rice as breakfast. You may find these special dishes almost in every street stores prepared by original Terengganu cooks. Another Terengganu’s famous “ikan tongkol” dish is “Singgang”, a local fish soup prepared with ginger, turmeric, chili, garlic and onion serves for lunch. It is healthy, nutritious and absolutely delicious.