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Marine fisheries production, although stagnating over the last two decades, has been contributing 55% of global fish production. Increased awareness of fish as a unique nutrient-rich health food, as well as source of quality animal protein, has stimulated the demand for fish in general and marine fish in particular. Over the last two decades, the Asia-Pacific region witnessed a spurt in fishing effort, resulting in dwindling fish catches. Although species richness, high fecundity and varied spawning peaks helped tropical marine fisheries overcome the challenges of higher fishing pressure, high exploitation of commercially important groups has caused serious sustainability concern. Climate change will also likely have considerable impact on fisheries sustainability. For marine harvests to keep growing, mariculture must also receive increased emphasis. Accessing extensive and reliable information on these vast and dynamic oceanic resources remains a challenging task. In this endeavour, the Asian Fisheries Society’s efforts, with support of partners, through the formation of AsiaPacific-FishWatch has been exemplary in generating and disseminating a wealth of information on the region's marine resources. While this comprehensive information base has been helping in drawing up strategic management plans for responsible fisheries by different countries in this region, I sincerely wish that the AsiaPacific-FishWatch will expand its scope and horizon in coming years by associating with more stakeholders involved with the sector.

- Dr. J. K. Jena, President, Asian Fisheries Society

JKJ

Albacore Tuna

Scientific Name:
Thunnus alalunga

Authority:
Bonnaterre 1788

Common Name:
Albacore Tuna

Quick Facts

Albacore tuna are large oceanic and highly migratory fish found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. In the Indian and the Western and Central Pacific oceans, they migrate seasonally in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical waters. Albacore tuna are associated with ocean gyres, fronts and ocean current systems. They are found from surface layers to a depth of 600 m. They tend to move in single species schools, and do not commonly associate with floating objects.

In the Pacific Ocean, two stocks and their fisheries are distinguished, namely the Northern Pacific Albacore and the Southern Pacific Albacore. In the Indian Ocean, a single stock is assumed.

Albacore tuna can live for more than 14 years and can reach a maximum size of 40 kg and 127 cm in length. Relative to other oceanic tunas, albacore is intermediate in size between skipjack and yellowfin tuna.

FISHERIES

Albacore tuna is important in commercial fisheries around the world, accounting for about 6% of the world’s catch of major tunas. In the Pacific Ocean (Western, Central and Eastern), 4% of the tuna caught are albacore and, in the Indian Ocean, 4% are albacore.

Albacore are caught mainly by longline gear which accounts for 96% of the catch. Distant-water fleets of Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan, and domestic fleets of several Indian Ocean and Pacific Island countries catch primarily adult albacore. A minor troll fishery targets juvenile albacore, notably in New Zealand coastal waters and in the Central Pacific in the region of the Sub-Tropical Convergence Zone. A minor pole-and-line fishery is operated by Japanese vessels in the northern part of the albacore Pacific Ocean range.

The fishery is highly seasonal, operating in the higher latitudes during late summer and autumn and in lower latitudes during winter. Albacore tuna spawn in tropical and sub-tropical waters in the spring and summer. Juveniles are most common in higher latitudes.

SUSTAINABILITY AND MANAGEMENT

None of the three albacore tuna stocks are currently overfished, but concern remains over the levels of fishing mortality in the NPO and IO. Since 1990, the longline catch in the Western and Central Pacific has expanded in its extent, and the disproportionate depletion of the older, larger albacore tuna has reduced the size and profitability of the catch.

The resource is managed by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) - the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) - and national governments.

The status of an albacore tuna stock is challenging to assess because each stock is harvested by several different fishing gears, over a wide geographic area with each gear type tending to catch fish of a different size range. Fleets fishing in different areas and seasons also tend to catch different size ranges of fish.

VALUE CHAINS

Albacore is sold mainly as canned tuna (90% of catch) and is marketed as a premium ’white meat’ tuna mainly in USA, Canada, Middle East, Australia, Japan and the UK. It is also consumed in domestic markets wherever it is produced.

FOOD

Albacore is a premium ‘white meat’ canned tuna product. It is the highest quality canned tuna, and an excellent protein source. Albacore is also sold fresh or frozen and converted into products such as steaks, sashimi and in sushi.

ECOSYSTEM AND CLIMATE

As most albacore tuna is caught by longline gear, bycatch of open ocean sharks and rays, sea turtles, sea birds and marine mammals are of greatest environmental concern.

Longline fishing is among the most energy intensive fishing operations as measured by greenhouse gases produced per tonne of fish landed. Unless strictly managed, processing operations for albacore (mainly canning) can also have negative impacts on the surrounding land and sea environment.

Under climate change, the location of prime albacore tuna fishing grounds is expected to shift. In the Pacific Ocean, the more frequent El Niño episodes and fewer La Nina events appear to be negatively affecting albacore stock abundance.

Sustainability

WILD HARVEST FISHERIES

All albacore tuna production is from wild harvest fisheries. Albacore tuna is a moderately fast-growing, widely distributed and very fecund species. Fisheries for albacore tuna in Asia-Pacific exploit three albacore tuna stocks, namely the southern Pacific Ocean (SPO) and northern Pacific Ocean (NPO) stocks, and the Indian Ocean (IO) stock. The two Pacific stocks occur across the ocean basin and the status of each stock is assessed separately. Albacore tuna is fished by many different methods and, despite its high productivity, its stocks face future challenges due to high demand. None of the three stocks are currently overfished, but the IO stock experienced a period of overfishing around 2010 but has since moved back to a state of not being subject to overfishing. The most common fishing methods for all stocks cause environmental concerns due to bycatch.

IUCN RED LIST STATUS

Near Threatened (globally) IUCN Red List Albacore Tuna

NPO albacore tuna populations have shown little decline but fishing in the NPO is considered to be too high and new information on the fishery still needs to be appropriately standardized to accurately reflect abundance and to determine if overfishing will indeed occur.

STATE OF THE STOCKS AND IMPACTS OF FISHING

The albacore tuna resources of the SPO, NPO and the IO are not overfished but the scientific assessments indicate concern about the levels of fishing mortality in the recent past in the NPO and the IO. The main methods used, longlining and pole and line fishing, create environmental concerns because of bycatch and the potential impact on baitfish, respectively.

The following albacore tuna stock status information, by ocean and stock, is drawn from the scientific reports of the regional fisheries management organisations and from the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s (ISSF) overview of stock status, rankings of management measures and impacts of fishing on bycatch (Status of the Stocks Technical Report).

SPO ALBACORE TUNA

Stock Abundance

Green – SSB>SSBMSY

Fishing Mortality

Green – F<FMSY

Environment

Orange – 96% of the catch is made by longlining. Several bycatch mitigation measures are in place (turtles, sharks, sea birds).

Green - 4% of the catch is made by trolling, with little impact on non-target species.

NPO ALBACORE TUNA

Stock Abundance

Green – SSB>SSBMSY

Fishing Mortality

Green– F < FMSY

Environment

Orange - 38% of the catch is made by longlining. Several bycatch mitigation measures are in place (turtles, sharks, sea birds).

Yellow - 37% of the catch is made by pole-and-line fishing, with unknown impacts on baitfish species.

Green - 23% of the catch is made by trolling, with little impact on non-target species.

IO ALBACORE TUNA

Stock abundance

Green –  SSB > SSBMSY. However there is considerable uncertainty in the assessment results.

Fishing mortality

Green – F < FMSY

Environment

Orange - Almost 100% of the catch is made by longlining. Several mitigation measures are in place (sharks, turtles, sea birds). Monitoring is deficient.

CERTIFICATES FOR SUSTAINABILITY OF WILD HARVEST FISHERY

Marine Stewardship Council (www.msc.org)

  • AAFA and WFOA North Pacific albacore tuna: certified from 2007, currently to June 2018.
  • Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) British Columbia albacore tuna North Pacific: certified from March 2010 for 10 years.
  • New Zealand albacore tuna troll: certified since 2011, presently until 2022
  • Fiji albacore tuna longline: certified December 2012, current to January 2023.
  • SZLC, HNSFC & CFA Cook Islands EEZ South Pacific albacore longline: certified from June 2015 for 5 years.
  • Walker Seafood Australia albacore, yellowfin tuna and swordfish: certified from August 2015 for 5 years.
  • Japanese Pole and Line skipjack and albacore tuna fishery: certified from October 2016 for 5 years.
  • American Samoa EEZ albacore and yellowfin longline fishery: certified from November 2017 for 5 years.

Several other albacore fisheries are undergoing MSC assessment.

Friends of the Sea (www.friendofthesea.org)

    • Friend of the Sea does not certify fisheries, but rather fishing fleets, including some company fleets fishing for akbacore and other tunas in the Asia-Pacific region. A list of currently certified fleets can be found through this link.

Albacore tuna has not been the object of targeted sustainable tuna conservation programs.

FISHERIES ASSESSMENTS

Albacore tuna in the SPO, NPO and the IO are each distinct stocks and are assessed and managed separately (see Albacore Tuna BIOLOGY).

The status of an albacore tuna stock is challenging to assess because each stock is harvested by several different fishing gears, over a wide geographic area with each gear type tending to catch fish of a different size range. Fleets fishing in different areas and seasons also tend to catch different size ranges of fish. For each stock, the assessments use data for all fisheries on the stock, a fishery being defined by gear type, fishing method and region.

Fisheries catch data for albacore tuna assessments have several shortcomings. In particular, historical catch data either consist of small samples of fish sizes and numbers and, for some fisheries, data from earlier periods are completely lacking. For some gear types, such as gillnets and those used in artisanal fishing, current reporting of catch and effort is limited.

SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN

For SPO albacore tuna, stock assessment and data management services are provided by the Oceanic Fisheries Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and reviewed by the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Council (WCPFC). Data from the Eastern Pacific Ocean are made available by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The Scientific Advisory Committee of the ISSF takes into consideration the WCPFC stock assessments, plus other reliable information, in making its sustainability assessments of stock abundance, fishing mortality and environment.

The albacore tuna stock assessments are based on catch, effort, fish size and tagging data from 30 component fisheries that are defined by gear, fishing method and area and comprise 26 separate longline fisheries, two driftnet fisheries, and two troll fisheries. Longline fisheries produce most of the catch. The longline fisheries consist of: i) Japanese, Korean and Chinese Taipei longline vessels operating in each of the four western and central regions (i.e. 12 fisheries), ii) domestic fleets from Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa and American Samoa combined, and Tonga (i.e. six fisheries), iii) Australia’s domestic fishery in two regions (i.e. two fisheries), and iv) the remaining longline fisheries from all six regions (i.e. six fisheries). Troll and driftnet fisheries are defined for the south western and south central regions of the SPO albacore tuna assessment area (i.e., four fisheries).

The SPO albacore tuna stock assessment is complemented by analyses that consider the standardization of longline catch and effort data used to calculate indices of abundance, information on size and reproductive output of female albacore, and estimates of fish growth that are particularly important to the assessment results. In the SPO, the most recent assessment (2015) estimated that the albacore tuna stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The estimate of MSY is 76,800 t; the SPO albacore tuna catch in 2016 was about 68,600 t.

Prior to 2015, longline fishing effort in the SPO and albacore catches both increased greatly. Much of the increase has been from vessels subsidised by their flag state. However, in 2015, some small reductions in southern longline effort occurred, compared to 2014.While the overall biological condition of the stock remains at an acceptable level, catch rates have been negatively impacted to the point where less efficient vessels, and those not benefiting from state subsidies, are no longer profitable. Since longline fishing selects the oldest fish in the stock, this portion of the age structure has been depleted more than the spawning biomass or the total biomass. This has contributed to the reduced size of albacore tuna landed and reduced longline catch rates, and also contributed to the economic problems that many of the longline fisheries targeting albacore are now facing. Updated projections state that if effort is to continue at 2015 levels, the stock is predicted to continue to decline.

Within the EEZs of SPO countries, a strong factor reducing the average size of albacore tuna landed is the increase in domestic fleets and total longline effort in the EEZs of the countries. This impact outweighs the effects of oceanographic and recruitment variation.

NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN

For NPO albacore tuna, stock assessment and data management services are provided by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC). The stock assessment of NPO albacore tuna is conducted by the ISC Albacore Working Group, with the assistance of scientists from the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). The ISC stock assessment report is discussed by the Scientific Committee of the WCPFC. The Scientific Advisory Committee of the ISSF takes into consideration the ISC stock assessments, plus other reliable information, in making its sustainability assessments of stock abundance, fishing mortality and environment.

The NPO albacore tuna catch is taken by longlines (40%), pole and line (34%), trolling (25%) and a small amount is also taken by purse seine. The albacore stock assessments are based on catch, effort, and fish size data provided by the ISC countries (Canada, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, and USA) and certain Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) member countries. The Japan pole-and-line (PL) and longline (LL) abundance indices are used in stock assessment models because these have been found to best represent the trends in juvenile and adult abundance; sex-specific growth curves are also used in the models.

In the NPO, the albacore stock is not overfished but concern has been expressed over the possibility of overfishing in the near future. If current fishing levels continue, the spawning stock biomass is projected to undergo a moderate decline with a < 0.01% probability of falling below the limit reference point by 2025. Historically, the stock experienced a long decline from the early 1970s to about 1990, then a recovery in the 1990s and fluctuations in the 2000s due to climate and recruitment variation. The current catch levels have fluctuated between 68,900 and 93,100 t in years 2010 – 2015 .

INDIAN OCEAN

For IO albacore tuna, the stock is assessed by the Scientific Committee of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). The Scientific Advisory Committee of the ISSF takes the IOTC stock assessments, plus other reliable information, to make their sustainability assessments of stock abundance, fishing mortality and environmental impact.

Almost all Indian Ocean albacore catches are taken by longlines. The catches have increased substantially since the mid-2000s, although the catch estimates are considered uncertain, especially with respect to the Indonesian longline catches, which probably make up 40% of the total albacore catch.

Some issues that are being addressed, and/or which influence the state of the stock, include: the relocation of IO fishing effort into albacore tuna grounds in order to avoid the peak of pirate attacks in the western IO; and the adjustments needed in assessments since fishing on albacore is now carried out year round, compared to the past when fishing was seasonal.

The IO albacore tuna stock is not overfished and not subject to overfishing. Catch estimates for 2016 (36,000 t) are below the current estimated MSY levels of approximately 40,000 t. Current fishing mortality is considered to be below the (interim) target reference point and spawning biomass is considered to be above the target reference point. The IOTC assessment advice is that a precautionary approach to the management of albacore tuna be applied by capping total catch levels to MSY levels . 

FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

The albacore tuna fisheries are managed by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and by national governments. As for the stock assessments, the management of albacore tuna fisheries is complicated by the mix of gears and fleets exploiting the stocks in both oceans, and problems in under-reporting of catches made by some fisheries. On the other hand, the habit of albacore tuna of travelling in single species schools with minimal mixing, and their tendency not to associate with floating objects, facilitates management of the stocks.

The RFMOs managing the SPO and NPO albacore tuna stocks are the WCPFC and the IATTC. The Indian Ocean industrial fisheries are managed by the IOTC.

The RFMOs’ are guided by scientific committees that advise on stock status, monitoring and possible management actions using their own research and additional advice provided by independent organisations. Through a series of negotiations, the RFMOs recommend Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs) aimed at securing the sustainability of all tuna stocks.

SOUTH PACIFIC OCEAN

The WCPFC and IATTC are responsible for international management measures for the southern Pacific albacore stock, based on advice from the Secretariat of the WCPFC Scientific Committee.

The SPO albacore stock has been subject to a single CMM mandated by the WCPFC (CMM 2015-02), replacing CMM 2010-05. In 2014 the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) members of WCPFC pressed for a comprehensive albacore CMM, led by concerns over the decline in catch rates in their domestic albacore fisheries.

Under CMM 2015-02, members, cooperating non-members and participating Territories shall ensure that fishing effort south of 20°S does not increase above the 2005 levels or historical (2000-2004) levels (with exceptions for Small Island Developing States within the WCPFC Convention Area). For albacore, catch and effort are limited mainly by the individual licensing policies of Pacific Island nations. Management measures applied in recreational fisheries for albacore (Australia, New Zealand) include bag and length limits.

Regional associations are increasingly influential in tuna fisheries management: a sub-set of FFA members have created the Tokelau Arrangement, which sets out a framework for limiting albacore tuna catch within the EEZs of the Parties to specified levels. When fully implemented, the Arrangement is intended to provide a basis for overall catch limitation, including on the high seas, in the WCPO; the TVMA (Te Vaka Moana Arrangement) countries of Cook Islands, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau and Tonga), and 14 Pacific Islands countries comprising the Pacific Islands Tuna Industry Association.

NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN

Management of fishing on the NPO albacore tuna stock is the responsibility of the WCPFC, IATTC and the national governments of the region. Stock assessment and science advice is provided to the regional fisheries management bodies by the ISC. In 2005, the WCPFC advised members, cooperating non-members and participating Territories not to increase fishing effort beyond the levels at that time. The most recent scientific meetings of the WCPFC and IATTC noted that the NPO albacore stock was in good condition so there was no recommendation for changes to the current CMM 2005-03.

Despite uncertainty in data and statistical analyses, albacore tuna stock in the IO are considered at risk due to the current and recent fishing levels that exceeded the fishing mortality levels for maximum sustainable yield in 2010, and that may cause further declines in biomass, productivity and catch rates in the fishery.

INDIAN OCEAN

Albacore tuna in the Indian Ocean are subject to several general conservation and management measures adopted by the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC). The IOTC has noted the uncertain outlook for albacore, agreed to take a precautionary approach to management, and develop Conservation and Management Measures to reduce fishing pressure for albacore tuna.

AQUACULTURE

Currently, albacore tuna are not produced in aquaculture.


 

GUIDE TO FURTHER READING

Note: Details of all sources are given in References below.

For the IUCN redlist see Albacore Tuna

For the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation Status of the Stocks Technical Report, see Reports; for SPO stock assessment overviews, see WCPFC Scientific Committee meeting reports, and Shelton Harley and others (2014); for NPO see ISC Albacore Working Group; for IO see IOTC Stock Status Dashboard.

For certification, see Marine Stewardship Council.

For albacore tuna stock assessment information, in addition to the above:

        • SPO: Shelton Harley and others (2015), Peter Williams and others (2017), on the decline in size of fish and the economics of the fishery see SPC (2014), Simon Hoyle & Nick Davies (2009), Simon Hoyle (2011), Peter Williams and others (2017), Brett Molony (2007) and Brouwer and others (2017).
        • NPO: see ISC (2017a, 2017b), WCPFC (2018).
        • IO: IOTC (2017), Fonteneau (2016), IOTC (2016), andfor fishing patterns in the IO, see IOTC (2017).

For fisheries management, refer to the relevant regional fisheries management organization sites, especially the pages providing the Conservation and Management Measures: SPO – WCPFC CMMs, especially WCPFC CMM 2015-02 (WCPFC 2015), WCPFC (2014) and WCPFC (2017); NPO - WCPFC CMMs & IATTC; and IO - IOTC CMMs, and IOTC (2014).

REFERENCES

      • Brouwer, S, G Pilling, & P Williams.  2017. Trends in the South Pacific Albacore longline and troll fisheries. WCPFC Scientific Committee Thirteenth Regular Session, 9-17 August 2017, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Paper SA-WP-08: 31 p.
      • Fonteneau, A. 2016. Indian Ocean albacore stock: review of its fishery, biological data and results of its 2014 stock assessment. Victoria, Seychelles, 18 – 21 July 2016. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC-2016-WPTmT06-09
      • Harley, SJ, N Davies, L Tremblay-Boyer, J Hampton, & S McKechnie. 2015. Stock assessment for south Pacific albacore tuna. WCPFC Scientific Committee Eleventh Regular Session, 5-13 August 2015, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Paper SA-WP-06: 101 p.
      • Hoyle, S. 2011. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean. WCPFC Scientific Committee Seventh Regular Session, 9-17 August 2011, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Paper SA-WP-06: 90 p.
      • Hoyle, S & N Davies. 2009. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean. WCPFC Scientific Committee, Fifth Regular Session, 10-21 August 2009, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Paper SA-WP-6: 134 p.
      • Hoyle, S, J Hampton, & N Davies. 2012. Stock assessment of albacore in the South Pacific Ocean. Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission Scientific Committee Eighth Regular Session, 7-15 August 2012, Busan, Republic of Korea. Paper SA-WP-04-REV1. 123 p.
      • IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). 2010. Report of the Thirteenth Session of the Scientific Committee. Victoria, Seychelles, 6-10 December 2010. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC-2010-SC-R[E]. 224 p.
      • IOTC (Indian Oceasn Tuna Commission). 2016. Report of the Sixth Session of the IOTC Working Party on Temperate Tunas. Shanghai, China, 21 July 2016. IOTC–2016–WPTmT06–R[E]. 58 p.
      • IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). 2017. Report of the twentieth session of the Scientific Committee. Victoria, Seychelles, 30 November – 4 December 2017 6-10. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, IOTC-2017-SC20-R[E]. 232 p.
      • ISC (International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean). 2017a. Stock Assessment of Albacore Tuna in the North Pacific Ocean in 2017.4 Report of the Albacore Working Group. 12 – 17 July 2017, Vancouver, Canada. 103 p.
      • ISC (International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean). 2017b. Report of the seventeenth meeting of the International Scientific Committee for tuna and tuna-like species in the north Pacific Ocean. ISC: Vancouver, British Columbia. 90 p
      • ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation). 2018. ISSF Tuna Stock Status Update, February 2018: Status of the world fisheries for tuna. ISSF Technical Report 2018-02. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Washington, D.C., USA.
      • Molony, BW. 2007. Trends in size composition of longline-caught albacore in the South Pacific. WCPFC Scientific Committee Third Regular Session, 13-24 August 2007, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. Paper SA IP-1: 46 p.
      • SPC (Secretariat for the Pacific Community). 2014. Sustainability of Pacific tuna fisheries. Policy Brief 25/2014. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea.
      • WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission). 2015. Conservation and management measure for South Pacific albacore. Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) 2015-02. WCPFC 12th Regular Session, 3-8 December 2015, Bali, Indonesia.
      • WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission). 2014. Addendum to WCPFC11-2014-DP05 (FFA Members Proposal to replace CMM for South Pacific Albacore) Explanatory note on the Tokelau Arrangement. 7p.
      • WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission). 2017. Summary report. Thirteenth Regular Session of the Scientific Committee, 9-17 August 2017: Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
      • WCPFC (Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission). 2018. Draft summary report. Fourteenth Regular Session of the Commission, 3-7 December 2017: Manila, Philippines.
      • Williams, P, P Terawasi and C Reid. 2016. Overview of tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including economic conditions – 2016. WCPFC-SC13-2017/GN WP-1. 66p.

Production

SPECIES IMPORTANCE

Albacore tuna is an important commercial fish species. It is also an important species for artisanal and subsistence fisheries and for recreational fishing.

Albacore tuna is found in the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea extending north to 45o to 50o N and south to 30o to 40o S, but not at the surface between 10o N and 10o S. Six separate stocks exist, including: the Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, Indian, North Pacific, and South Pacific.

Albacore tuna is caught by pole and line, longline, gillnet, troll, purse seine, and mid-water trawl. Small albacore tuna is taken by surface gears including pole and line and troll. In the temperate latitudes, the catches are highly seasonal. In tropical and subtropical latitudes, larger albacore tuna is taken by gillnet and longline.

Most of the world’s catch comes from the Pacific Ocean. In the North and South Pacific (NPO and SPO) and Indian Oceans (IO), longline are predominately used to catch albacore tuna. In the NPO, the main fleets are from Japan, Taiwan and United States; in the SPO, the main fleets are from Taiwan, China, and Fiji; and in the IO, the main fleet is from Taiwan. By volume, the Japanese and Taiwanese fleets catch the most albacore tuna.

Most albacore tuna is used for canning. It is also becoming more popular in Japan for use as a topping in less expensive sushi.

The South Pacific albacore tuna catch was about 78,000 t (2012-2016 average), caught mostly by longline fishing on adult albacore tuna and with catch concentrated in the western part of the Pacific. The seasonal catch from troll fishing for juvenile albacore tuna is between 3,000 to 8,000 t, spanning November to April in New Zealand’s coastal waters. Juvenile albacore tuna is also occasionally caught by longline fishing in the more southern latitudes.

The Northern Pacific albacore tuna catch was about 75,000 t (2012-2016 average), caught by longline, pole and line, and troll, and with catch also concentrated in the western part of the Pacific.

In the Indian Ocean, over 35,0000 t (2015) of albacore tuna was caught almost exclusively using drifting longlines (more than 90% of the total catches) and predominately by Taiwan and Indonesia fresh-tuna longline and deep-freezing fisheries (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. In recent years this catch has mostly come from the southern and eastern Indian Ocean attributed to increased activity of fresh-tuna longliners from Taiwan and Indonesia.

FISHING METHODS

Albacore tuna fisheries consist of commercial/industrial fisheries, small-scale (artisanal and subsistence), and recreational fisheries.

In the commercial fisheries of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, albacore tuna is taken mainly by longline, but it is also caught in minor quantities by troll lines and pole-and-line, purse seine, drift net/gill net, and hand line. Longline fisheries for albacore tuna operate throughout the year, although there is a strong seasonal trend in the catch distribution in response to fish migrations: higher latitudes during late summer and autumn, and lower latitudes during winter. Typically, longline vessels targeting adult albacore tuna set at depths between 0 and 400 m.

Artisanal and subsistence fisheries mainly depend on trolling, hand line and gillnet for fishing.

Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Two stocks of albacore tuna occur in the Pacific Ocean, namely the NPO and the SPO stocks (see BIOLOGY). In the Pacific Ocean, albacore tuna is caught by longline, trolling and by pole and line gear. In the NPO, the catch is mainly taken in the Kuroshio Current, the North Pacific Transition Zone, and the California Current in temperatures between about 15oC and 19.5oC; in the SPO, the catch comes mainly from the Subtropical Convergence Zone. Small amounts of albacore tuna are also taken in temperate water purse seine fisheries in the North Pacific.

These fisheries are managed between the two management regions in the Pacific Ocean, the Western and Central Pacific Convention Area (WCP-CA) and the Eastern Pacific Ocean but the two stocks (North and South Pacific stocks) flow across the western and eastern management boundaries. Information about catches and stock abundance are divided between the two regions. The focus is on information from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean fisheries of NPO and SPO albacore tuna stocks.

In both hemispheres, the albacore tuna catch is mainly taken in subtropical and temperate waters.

In the North Pacific, albacore tuna is primarily taken in the 1st and 4th quarters of the year. In the South Pacific, albacore tuna is taken year-round, although it tends to be more prevalent in the catch during the 3rd quarter (Williams et al. 2017).

In the Pacific Ocean, albacore tuna is taken predominately by longliners (97% of the catch weight) between Latitudes 5°S and 25°S, and Longitudes 145°E to 135°W. The longline vessels (large and smaller offshore domestically based vessels) target albacore for canning in American Samoa and Fiji (Williams et al. 2017); they use port facilities in American Samoa and Fiji for unloading and re-supply (Hamilton et al, 2011).

Catches from the troll fishery are relatively small, generally less than 10,000 mt per year (Hoyle & Davies, 2009). Fiji (longline – see MSC), American Samoa (longline and includes yellowfin – see MSC), Japanese (pole and line and includes skipjack – see MSC) and New Zealand (troll – see MSC) have significant though small albacore tuna fisheries, all now MSC-certified. The eastern Australian deep-set longline fishery takes a minor catch (est. 2,500-4,000 t). Coastal and offshore Japanese fleets seasonally (July to October) catch substantial quantities of albacore tuna using pole-and-line, mainly in the northern part of the Convention area.

In the low latitudes of the Western and Central Pacific, the South Pacific longline fisheries principally catch older, adult albacore tuna, with very low selectivity for juvenile fish (five years and younger), 50% selectivity occurring at about six years of age, and full selectivity at eight years. By contrast, in the more southerly high latitudes, younger fish are more vulnerable to the longline fisheries regions and juvenile fish represent a significant component of the catches from these fisheries. The troll fisheries principally exploit the 2-4 year age classes.

Indian Ocean

The IO fishery targeting albacore operates mainly south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Albacore tuna are currently caught almost exclusively using drifting longlines (over 90% of the catch), with the remaining catches by purse seines and other gears. Catches from the longline fisheries are split between deep-freezing longliners, and fresh-tuna longliners. The majority of albacore tuna catches are attributed to vessels flagged to distant water fishing nations including Taiwan, China, Japan and Indonesia, followed by coastal countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia.

Longline catches have traditionally been concentrated in the south west and central IO between 20o and 40oS. Recent catches, however, have come from the southern and eastern Indian Ocean due to increased activity of the fresh-tuna longliners from Taiwan, China and Indonesia. In the western IO, the catches of albacore tuna mostly result from the activities of deep-freezing longliners and purse seiners.

In the IO, average size of albacore caught by the longline fisheries is 15 kg compared to

In the South West IO, Mauritius is a regional hub for basing and re-supply of fishing vessels, cold storage and fish processing. Frozen tuna caught by longliners transhipped in Mauritius is predominately albacore tuna which are mainly exported to East Asian countries.

INDUSTRIAL-SCALE FISHERIES

Industrial scale fisheries, mainly by longliners, dominate albacore tuna production in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Purse seiners, trollers and pole and liners take a small share of the albacore tuna catch. In the WCP-CA, three broad categories of longline vessel target albacore tuna.

The first is the Pacific-Islands domestic offshore vessels. Vessel numbers vary depending on charter arrangements but have stabilised in recent years. Pacific Island nations with domestic fleets include American Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Samoa, mainly operating in subtropical waters and taking albacore tuna as the main species. In 2011, Tuvalu and Wallis & Futuna joined this category, although the latter fleet has not fished recently.

In the last 10 years, the Pacific Islands domestic albacore tuna fishery has risen from taking 33% of the total SPO albacore tuna longline catch in 1998 to around 50-60% of the catch in recent years. Combined across national fleets, including charter vessels, more than 500 of these domestic albacore tuna vessels have operated. They are mainly small offshore (<100 GRT) vessels, undertaking trips of less than one month with ice or chill capacity and serving albacore tuna canneries. In recent years their catches have reached a similar level to that of the distant-water longline vessels (third category) active in the WCP–CA.

The second category is the SPO distant-water albacore tuna fishery comprising distant-water vessels from Taiwan, China and Vanuatu operating in the South Pacific, generally south of 20°S and targeting albacore tuna for canning. In recent years, the Chinese fleet has increased, in part because of subsidies from the Chinese government. Taiwanese longliners equipped with low temperature freezers may switch targets between albacore and bigeye depending on fishing and market conditions. Older vessels with freezer capacities capable of cannery-grade only remain albacore tuna-targeting. About 20-30 of the latter remain in the Pacific.

The third category is the NPO distant-water albacore tuna and swordfish fisheries mainly comprising distant-water vessels from Japan (targeting swordfish and albacore tuna), Taiwan and Vanuatu (both targeting albacore tuna only). These are predominantly large (>250 GRT) distant-water freezer vessels which undertake long voyages (months) and operate over large areas.

In the IO, the longline fisheries are split between deep-freezing longliners, and fresh-tuna longliners.

The deep-freezing longline fishery comprises vessels from China, Japan and Taiwan. The catches of albacore tuna from these vessels is currently declining. Fresh-tuna longliners catch about two-thirds of the IO albacore tuna catch. The catches of albacore tuna by Taiwanese fresh-tuna vessels have increased to between 80% - 90% of catches by all Taiwanese longliners. Indonesian fresh tuna longline catches have also increased considerably.

The European Commission’s issuance of a ‘yellow card’ under its IUU Fishing Regulation has had a large impact on Taiwan’s management of its fishing vessels. Prior to the yellow card, Taiwan’s small-scale albacore tuna longliners enjoyed a competitive advantage against the larger industrial fleet due to their ability to move between the Pacific and Indian Oceans unimpeded by national regulations. Now, some vessels may switch oceans, but only upon application and strict review.

SMALL SCALE FISHERIES

Coastal fisheries are those fisheries carried out by vessels having an overall length of less than 24 m and which only operate within the EEZ of the flag country.

In the NPO, one company operating in Japan’s small pole-and-line skipjack/albacore tuna fishery is MSC Certified. Taiwan also operates a fleet of small scale longline vessels targeting albacore tuna in the Pacific.

In the SPO, a very small fleet of mainly New Zealand and United States troll vessels fish seasonally for albacore tuna. Effort expended depends on albacore tuna canning prices and oceanographic conditions.

In the IO, the small-scale tuna fleet includes coastal multipurpose boats operating a number of traditional gears, small pole and line boats and small longliners.

RECREATIONAL FISHING

Game fishing for tuna, including albacore tuna, is carried out in some countries, using trolling, rod-and-reel and handline. The trolling unit varies with feathered jigs, spoons and lures, live and whole bait (mullet, sardines, squid, herring, anchovies, and other small fishes) all being used. Albacore tuna is considered by anglers to be an excellent light tackle game fish.

AQUACULTURE

Albacore tuna are not produced in aquaculture at present.

FURTHER READING

Note: Details of all sources are given in References below.

For fishing methods, see Gillett (2011), IOTC (2017c) and Nikolic and others (2017).

For overall information on the fishery, see the FAO species Fact Sheet for albacore tuna http://www.fao.org/fishery/species/2496/en, Nikolic and others (2017), ISSF (2018); for the WCP, Brouwer and others (2017); for the IO, IOTC (2017a).

Specifically for details for the NPO and SPO, see: IATTC (2016), Williams and others (2017), Brouwer, Pilling, & Williams (2017), Hoyle and others (2008), Hamilton and others (2011), and Langley & Hampton (2005).

For the IO fishing methods, see: Bertignac & Ardill (1996), IOTC (2017b), IOTC (2017c), Fonteneau (2016) and Mootoosamy and others (2016).

For industrial scale fisheries, see: Williams and others (2017), IOTC (2017c), Campling, Lewis, McCoy (2017), and Hamilton and others (2011).

For small scale fisheries, see: Hamilton and others (2011).

General descriptions of the main gear types used for the capture of albacore tuna can be found at: http://www.fao.org/fishery/fishtech/1010/en

REFERENCES

  • Bertignac, M & D Ardill. 1996. Some interaction issues in the fisheries for tunas and tuna-like fishes of the Indian Ocean. In RS Shomura, J Majkowski & RF Harman (eds) pp 67-83. Status of Interactions of Pacific Tuna Fisheries in 1995. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 365. Rome, FAO.
  • Brouwer, S, G Pilling, J Hampton, P Williams, S McKechnie, & L Tremblay-Boyer. 2017. The Western and Central Pacific tuna fishery: 2016 overview and status of stocks. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community. Retrieved from https://www.wcpfc.int/node/30158
  • Brouwer, S, G Pilling, & P Williams. 2017. Trends in the south Pacific albacore longling and troll fisheries. Rarotonga, Cook Islands: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. https://www.wcpfc.int/system/files/SC13-SA-WP-08%20SPA%20trends.pdf
  • Campling, L, A Lewis, & M McCoy. 2017. The Tuna Longline Industry in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean and its Market Dynamics. Honiara: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. http://www.ffa.int/system/files/Campling-Lewis-McCoy%202017%20The%20Tuna%20%20Longline%20Industry.pdf
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture Department (FAO). 2017. Species Fact Sheets Thunnus alalunga. http://www.fao.org/fishery/species/2496/en
  • Fonteneau, A. 2016. Indian ocean albacore stock: review of its fishery, biological data and results of its 2014 stock assessment. Shanghai, China. http://www.iotc.org/documents/indian-ocean-albacore-stock-review-its-fishery-biological-data-and-results-its-2014-stock
  • Gillett, R. 2011. Catch Attribution in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. WCPFC-TCC7-2011/23, 5 August 2011. Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Technical And Compliance Committee, Seventh Regular Session, 28 September - 4 October 2011, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.
  • Hamilton, A, A Lewis, MA McCoy, E Havice, & L Campling. 2011. Market and industry dynamics in the global tuna supply chain. Honiara, Solomon Islands: Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. https://www.ffa.int/system/files/Global%20Tuna%20Market%20%26%20Industry%20Dynamics_Part%201a.pdf
  • Hoyle, S, A Langley & J Hampton. 2008. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the south Pacific Ocean. WCPFC–SC4 SA WP–8, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Scientific Committee Fourth Regular Session, 11-22 August 2008, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
  • Hoyle, S & N Davies. 2009. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the south Pacific Ocean. WCPFC-SC5-2009/SA-WP-6, Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, Scientific Committee, Fifth Regular Session, 10-21 August 2009, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
  • IATTC (Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission). 2016. Tunas, billfishes and other pelagic species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2015. IATTC, Fishery Status Report No 14, La Jolla, Ca, USA.
  • IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). 2017a. Status summary for species of tuna and tuna-like species under the IOTC mandate, as well as other species impacted by IOTC fisheries. http://www.iotc.org/science/status-summary-species-tuna-and-tuna-species-under-iotc-mandate-well-other-species-impacted-iotc.
  • IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). 2017b. Report of the 20th Session of the IOTC Scientific Committee (2017). 
  • IOTC (Indian Ocean Tuna Commission). 2017c. Albacore: Supporting Information. http://www.iotc.org/science/status-summary-species-tuna-and-tuna-species-under-iotc-mandate-well-other-species-impacted-iotc#tttmt
  • ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation). 2018. Status of the world fisheries for tuna. February 2018. ISSF Technical Report 2018-02. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Langley, A & J Hampton. 2005. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the south Pacific Ocean. WCPFC–SC1 SA WP–3, 1st Meeting of the Scientific Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, WCPFC–SC1, Noumea, New Caledonia, 8–19 August 2005.
  • Mootoosamy, L, S Mamode, T Sookall & C Mahadoo. 2016. An overview of longline fisheries targeting albacore tuna in Mauritius. Shanghai, China: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. http://www.iotc.org/documents/overview-longline-fisheries-targeting-albacore-tuna-mauritius
  • Nikolic, N, G Morandeau, L Hoarau, W West, H Arrizabalaga, S Hoyle, S Nicol, J Bourjea, A Puech, J Farley, A Williams & A Fonteneau. 2017. Review of albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, biology, fisheries and management. Reviews in fish biology and fisheries, 27:775-810.
  • Williams, P, P Terawasi, & C Reid. 2017. Overview of tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, Including Economic Conditions – 2016. Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission: Rarotonga, Cook Islands. https://www.wcpfc.int/node/29628

Supply Chains

POST HARVEST

Albacore tuna is primarily canned but is also sold fresh, frozen, or smoked. The USA is the primary market for canned albacore tuna. In USA and most western nations, it is sold as ‘white meat’ canned tuna. Thailand and Indonesia import significant quantities of albacore tuna, mainly from the Western and Central Pacific and Indian Oceans to can and export, or loin and re-export for canning in the USA.

Fresh and fresh/frozen albacore tuna, i.e., the tuna not destined for canning, is popular in many fish recipes, as is smoked albacore tuna. The flavour of good quality albacore tuna is mild compared to that of other tuna species. The very best quality fresh/frozen albacore tuna will be well-iced or held in refrigerated seawater and is not more than a few days old at the time of sale. If of good quality, albacore tuna is also served as seared steaks; and the best quality may be sold for sashimi and sushi. Vessels using -35°C freezers onboard are capable of marketing some albacore tuna to the sashimi market.

Some at-sea transhipping of albacore tuna occurs for export to Thailand, and some is also unloaded at processing plants in Fiji, American Samoa and French Polynesia, Seychelles, Mauritius and India (limited). The Western and Central Pacific albacore tuna catch is usually shipped as whole frozen round and consists almost entirely of adult fish .

CANNING

About 90% of the albacore tuna catch is canned; it makes a premium ‘white meat’ canned tuna product. The fish are either canned directly (e.g. in Fiji, American Samoa, PNG), or processed into loins and exported, to be canned in large canneries worldwide (United States, Thailand, Mauritius, Philippines, Indonesia; also, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland and Japan). By far the largest volume of albacore tuna for canning sent to the US is in the form of frozen cooked loins. The supply goes to a cannery in California and another in Georgia (USA).

Thailand is the largest non-US processor of albacore tuna. Fiji is a leading supplier of canning-grade South Pacific albacore tuna to this market, following China and Indonesia. Indonesia’s small cannery, Cilacap based in Java, is also a significant processor of longline caught Indian Ocean albacore tuna for export to the US.

Typically, before canning, albacore tuna is pre-cooked to reduce excess moisture, minimise the exudate in the can, improve the sensory, physical and chemical qualities of the product and prolong the shelf life, and then cooled before canning . Vegetable oil, water or other flavouring liquids may then be added in the can. A small number of commercial custom canners pack albacore tuna in its natural oil.

SASHIMI AND OTHER PRODUCTS

Albacore tuna is also sold fresh or frozen and converted into products such as steaks, frozen pre-cooked loins, tuna meal, tuna oil, and in jars (http://www.atuna.com/index.php/en/trade/tuna-products). Increasingly, albacore tuna is also packaged into retort pouches and other sealed pouches for consumer and catering markets. Pouches are often subject to different trade access arrangements.

COMMON MARKET NAMES

FAO common names for albacore tuna are: (English) Albacore, Albacore tuna; (French) Germon, (Spanish) Atún blanco.

In the USA, albacore tuna is marketed as “light tuna,”and “white albacore tuna.”

FishBase provides a long list of common names: http://www.fishbase.org/ComNames/CommonNamesList.php?ID=142&GenusName=Thunnus&SpeciesName=alalunga&StockCode=156

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

Albacore tuna is a high quality canned tuna and is an excellent protein source. The food value of a serving pack of 100g, packed in water, is: Calories, 108; protein, 23.4 g; fat, 0.95 g; cholesterol, 45 mg; carbohydrate, 0 g; sugar, 0 g; selenium, 36.5 mcg; sodium, 37 mg (www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/). Nutrient value remains almost the same for the raw, precooked and canned tuna. Thiamin retention for the canned tuna is about 5%; niacin, 71-73%; and riboflavin, 49–50%. The values for Cu, Fe, K, and Ca are much lower in canned tuna than fresh tuna.

If not handled well, albacore and other tuna may spoil and build up high levels of histamine (scombrotoxin), causing symptoms such as rashes, flushing of the face, intense headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain. The risk can be reduced by better education on prevention with correct handling and selection of good quality fish.

TRADE AND MARKETS

The profitability of albacore tuna is challenging as it is mainly caught by longline fishing, which has high production costs, and is sold to the shelf-stable tuna markets (cans, pouches) in which the price range is narrower than that of the other large tunas such as yellowfin and bigeye tuna. For example, the canned albacore tuna sector is a buyer-driven global value chain in which retailers put downward price pressure on suppliers and contribute to generating a price sensitive market.

Both locally-based and foreign-based offshore tuna-fishing vessels offload their catch at large plants or processing facilities in the Indo-West Central Pacific region. Canned albacore tuna processed in American Samoa goes to the US market, as it enters duty free. Thailand exports to the EU; Seychelles and Mauritius are also significant US suppliers. EU tariff barriers applied to non-ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries, EU sanitary-phytosanitary requirements, rules of origin and those of the World Trade Organization exert significant economic influences on tuna trading.

In order to trade their fisheries products, Small Island Developing States in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans must manoeuvre a complex network of trade rules and patterns that dictate tariff levels, subsidies and production and consumption trends. These factors play an important role in determining who catches tuna and where it is caught, processed and ultimately consumed.

ECONOMIC, EMPLOYMENT, SOCIAL FACTORS AND GENDER

The size of the albacore tuna fishery, and in particular its processing, ensures that albacore tuna has significant social and economic importance because of its value and the employment opportunities it offers, especially in Small Island Developing States and States with small and vulnerable economies. The fishing crews are composed of men. The majority of production workers in the canneries are women; some women may join men as production managers and in administration. Women are also involved in domestic, non-commercial marketing.

Fuel and labour costs, up to 60% of total operating costs, have a significant effect on longline fishing profitability for albacore tuna. Bait, vessel maintenance, and services costs comprise the remainder. Cannery labour costs play an important role in determining the destination of catches: Thailand has an average cannery labour cost that is typically lower than that of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands by about 20% .

FISHING

The fishing industry provides employment for relatively unskilled workers as vessel crew. Even so, conditions on board legally registered fishing vessels generally are poor, with long working hours and sometimes dangerous work situations. In the Western and Central Pacific, at least, crew pay is related to the jobs performed and crew experience. Longline work requires less skill and the tasks tend to be repetitive in nature, thus earnings of deck crew on most longline fleets are generally low.

One of the few international legal instruments relative to labour at sea on fishing vessels is the International Labour Organization Work in Fishing Convention, 2007 (No. 188), which only entered into force on 16 November 2017.

PROCESSING FACILITIES

Semi-skilled men and women are engaged in work in canneries in the Pacific, Asia and Indian Ocean States. Whereas men’s work spans loading and unloading and the more physically-demanding tasks, women work primarily on the processing lines. Canneries prefer to engage women processing workers for several reasons, the main ones being that their hands are smaller and they are considered more deft than men at cleaning and cutting the fish.

Workplace hazards, high risk work in the fish processing industry, and associated health issues are numerous. Due to competitive pricing of the product, the average wage rates for cannery workers are low. Working long hours in canneries significantly affects workers’ family, social and community lives. Relevant conventions that are invoked to address such situations include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ILO Minimum Age Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Convention on Abolition of Forced Labour, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Fair work movements and tuna industry accreditation is beginning to change attitudes in the processing industry (e.g. Pacifical [www.pacifical.com]).

In the Western and Central Pacific, albacore tuna for canning is processed in American Samoa and Fiji (PAFCO, Levuka).

FURTHER READING

For overall post harvest information, see: Hamilton and others (2011) on canned tuna; Miyake and others (2010) for all forms but especially sushi and sashimi; and Hamilton and others (2011) and Mootoosamy and others (2016) for information on fish processing plants.

For more details on canning, see: Hamilton and others (2011), Campling & Doherty (2007), Sadiyah and others (2011). For product quality, histamine issues see: Aubourg (2001) and Hilderbrand (1995).

For information on the geography of canning see: Campling, Lewis & McCoy (2017), Hamilton and others (2011).

For market names see FAO Albacore Tuna Species Fact Sheet (http://www.fao.org/fishery/species/2496/en), and FishBase that provides a long list of common names: http://www.fishbase.org/ComNames/CommonNamesList.php?ID=142&GenusName=Thunnus&SpeciesName=alalunga&StockCode=156

For nutritional information and food quality issues see: NOAA FishWatch (www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/), Aubourg (2001), and Chamberlain & Titili (2001).

For trade and markets, see: Campling, Lewis & McCoy (2017), Hamilton and others (2011), Campling & Doherty (2007), and Campling and others (2007).

For economic, employment, social factors and gender, see: Parris (2010), Campling, Lewis & McCoy (2017), and Hamilton and others (2011).

For fishing, see the ILO convention on working at sea (No. 188) http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_596898/lang--en/index.htm

For information on work in processing facilities, see: Jeebhay and others (2004), and the texts of relevant conventions.

REFERENCES

Environment, Climate

Albacore tuna are caught mainly by longline, and a small amount by troll line in the South Pacific Ocean (SPO), by longline, troll line and pole and line in the North Pacific Ocean (NPO), and almost totally by longline in the Indian Ocean (IO). The fisheries (see PRODUCTION) also catch a range of other tunas and bycatch species including sharks and rays, large bony fishes (e.g. marlin, swordfish, escolar, opah (Lampris guttatus), mammals, sea turtles and sea birds. Albacore tuna itself is often bycatch of other fisheries. Thus, the environmental and ecosystem effects of these multi-species fisheries cannot readily be attributed to fishing for albacore tuna.

Air and water pollution from fishing and fish processing are other environment concerns. Ocean climate and global warming affect the distribution and catchability of albacore tuna stocks.

EFFECTS OF FISHING ON OTHER SPECIES

All fishing gears have some level of environmental effect. Under the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the fishing sector is expected to minimize its effects on the environment in order to sustain the resources and environment on which it relies. Fishing gear used to catch albacore tuna do not come into contact with the seafloor during normal operation and therefore do not affect benthic habitats or communities.

BYCATCH

For albacore tuna caught in deep waters by longline in the South Pacific Ocean (SPO) and the Indian Ocean (IO), bycatch is one of the most observable environmental effects. For albacore tuna caught in the surface waters by pole and line (North Pacific Ocean (NPO), the impacts of local baitfishing is of some concern. Trolling for albacore tuna in the SPO and NPO has little bycatch (see Albacore Tuna SUSTAINABILITY).

In an effort to better understand the types, levels and impacts of bycatch, the scientific committees and science service providers of the relevant fisheries management bodies (see Albacore Tuna SUSTAINABILITY) are increasing the number of non-tuna species they assess. These assessments then are used to advise the regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) and member countries on the impacts of fishing and on mitigation needs.

For albacore tuna, bycatch rates in the longline fisheries are of more concern than those in the surface fisheries. In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), the more vulnerable bycatch species are sharks, and other finfish, whereas bycatch of sea turtles and seabirds are very low. Sharks are often targeted by longline vessels for their meat and fins, particularly when tuna catch rates are low. Any yellowfin and bigeye tunas caught as ‘bycatch’ in the albacore tuna fisheries (e.g. from Taiwanese, Chinese, and national Pacific and Indian Ocean fleets) are sent to fresh sashimi markets. In some areas, toothed whales (Odontoceti) remove bait and tuna from set domestic longlines, such as in Fiji and Seychelles. In the IO, shark bycatch is considered to be underreported. In the SPO longline fishery for albacore tuna, 69 percent of the catch comprises the main tuna species. The bycatch comprises open ocean sharks and rays, large bony fishes (e.g. marlin, swordfish, escolar, opah (Lampris guttatus), and other tuna species), mammals, sea turtles and sea birds.

To reduce the catch and mortality of sharks, changes in longline gear are being used or investigated. These include changes in hook type and hook position in the water, replacing wire traces with nylon leaders and improving survival by better handling practices. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) has prescribed conditions and controls for retaining shark, notably for their fins. The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) has recognised the oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus) as a vulnerable species in the IO fisheries, and mandates the release of this species if caught, as well as supporting scientific assessments of fishing risk to a number of shark species.

In the IO, seabird breeding and feeding grounds overlap with longline tuna fishing grounds, including for all but one of the 18 species of southern hemisphere albatrosses. Records of bird catches are incomplete for many IO fleets. In the WCPO, many species of seabirds are also caught by longlines, including especially large albatrosses in the higher latitudes. The IOTC and WCPFC both mandate mitigation methods based on full recording, mapping the areas of greatest overlap of seabirds and fishing, setting lines at night to avoid birds, weighting the lines for faster sinking and attaching streamers to keep the birds away, but more research is required to determine the most effective methods.

Sea turtles caught in longline operations are usually discarded. Encounter rates on longlines are very low but mortality rates are thought to be very high in the IO, and low (high survival) in the WCPO.

Most RFMOs have mitigation measures in place for bycatch of sea birds, sea turtles and sharks. The bycatch of sharks is becoming a high global concern. The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) have conservation and monitoring measures for bycatch mitigation and monitoring. Specific conservation and management measures address bycatch issues for sea turtles, sharks (including finning), sea birds, cetaceans, other finfish and reporting provisions to support bycatch research and monitoring. The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) conducts regionally specific by-catch mitigation training workshops for purse seine vessel skippers. In several languages, ISSF provides skippers guides to bycatch mitigation for purse seiners and longliners (http://www.issfguidebooks.org/).

IMPACTS OF FISHING ON AIR AND WATER

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with catching tuna by purse-seine vessels, storing it on board and delivering whole fish to processing plants are three times greater than the emissions stemming from the processing, packaging and transport of the resulting products. For longline fishing, 87 percent of the total carbon footprint is from the direct or indirect burning of fuel by fishing vessels. Fisheries using longline, pole-and-line, or troll gears (such as for albacore tuna) are the least efficient tuna fisheries.

The carbon footprint of longline tuna products is increased further if air freight is used to deliver sashimi-grade tuna and other fresh tuna products to markets because GHG emissions are much higher for airfreight than for sea freight. However, most albacore tuna are canned.

Once albacore tuna is landed, the most significant environmental effects are point-source impacts from canning. Albacore tuna is loined and/or canned in America Samoa, China, Fiji, French Polynesia, Japan, Samoa, Taiwan, and Vanuatu. The amount of factory waste from tuna processing has increased significantly in low-cost countries that generally have lower capacity to regulate the environmental impacts. In addition, local access to coastal food resources and quality of life for residents may be affected in the vicinity of the factories.

Effluent from tuna processing plants is significant because it has an extremely high organic content and the fish are landed complete with heads and guts. Processing of oily fish such as tunas causes higher pollution loads than does less oily fish.

Energy consumption for operating machinery, producing ice, heating, cooling, and drying contributes to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. High use of water in all stages of processing, noise, odour and solid waste are additional negative environment effects of fish processing operations.

EFFECTS OF ENVIRONMENT ON ALBACORE TUNA

Variation in albacore tuna catch rates may be explained by seasonal, year-to-year and spatial variation of the preferred habitat. Highest catches occur in the intermediate layers of ocean waters at less than 20.5°C and with moderate primary production and low to moderate densities of prey.

All three albacore tuna stocks (IO, SPO and NPO) have a similar latitudinal gradient in the size distribution of fish (see Albacore Tuna – Biology). In the IO, between 10S and 30S, mature, spawning, and immature fish approximately corresponded with the boundaries of the three IO oceanic current systems. Mature but non-spawning fish tend to live north of 10S, spawning fish (October to March) between 10S and 25S, and immature fish south of 30S. In the SPO, mature fish also live between 10-30S year-round, not just during the spawning season.

For immature fish, the sea surface variables (sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll concentration and surface salinity) are significant environmental factors affecting distribution. For mature albacore tuna, SST is significant, while for spawning albacore tuna, the sub-surface variable temperatures at 100 m and oxygen at 200 m are significant. Spawning albacore prefer waters in which the mixed layer is deep, i.e., no thermocline to about 250m.

The geographic and depth variations in temperature, currents, albacore tuna food availability and predation influence recruitment of young fish to the fishery. In the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, the numbers of albacore tuna recruited to the fishery is related to El Niño and La Niña climate events. A sub-tropical tuna, albacore tunaexhibits low recruitment during El Niño (warmer) and high recruitment during La Niña (cooler) periods. During El Niño events, the extension of the warm waters in the central Pacific likely reduces the spawning grounds of albacore tuna, and, in addition, increasing sea surface temperatures negatively affect their recruitment.

Higher catch rates of albacore tuna have occurred in the southern subtropical areas of the Pacific Ocean about six months before or at the onset of El Niño episodes, probably as the thermocline becomes shallower in equatorial waters, and thus the extent of waters at the preferred adult temperature range (18 - 25°C) is reduced.

EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON ALBACORE TUNA

The more frequent El Niño episodes and fewer La Nina events appear to be negatively affecting albacore stocks, at least in the Pacific. The location of prime albacore tuna fishing grounds is expected to shift, and the catchability of albacore tuna to surface (troll, pole and line and purse seine) and deep water (longline) fishing gears will likely vary in patterns similar to those now driven by ENSO events.

GUIDE TO FURTHER READING

Note: Details of all sources are given in References below.

On bycatch in the longline fisheries, for the IO, see David Ardill and others (2011), ISSF (2014); for the SPO, see Shelton Harley and others (2014), Amanda Hamilton and others (2011), and Shelley Clarke and others (2014).

For information on sharks, longline fishing and shark bycatch mitigation, see Mike McCoy & Robert Gillett (2005), Peter Ward and others (2007), Pew Environment Group (2011), and the Conservation and Management Measures of the relevant regional fisheries management organisations (IOTC: http://www.iotc.org/cmms, and WCPFC: https://www.wcpfc.int/conservation-and-management-measures).

For seabird bycatch and bycatch mitigation measures, see Shelley Clarke and others (2014). IOTC CMM 12-06, WCPFC CMM 2012-07. For sea turtle bycatch, see Shelley Clarke and others (2014), and Shelton Harley and others (2014). For ISSF skippers and observers guides on bycatch mitigation for purse seiners and longliners, see http://www.issfguidebooks.org/

For the carbon footprint of albacore tuna fisheries, see Peter Tyedmers and Robert Parker (2012). For the impacts on albacore tuna processing, see Amanda Hamilton and others (2011), and UNEP (2000).

For environment and albacore tuna interactions, see Karine Briand and others (2011). For life stage distributions in the IO, see I-Ching Chen and others (2005). For WCPO impacts of ENSO events, see Patrick Lehodey and others (2003), J. Powers and others (2009), and Patrick Lehodey and others (2011).

For likely climate change impacts, see Patrick Lehodey and others (2003), and Kobe II (2010).

REFERENCES

  • Ardill, D., D. Itano and R. Gillett. 2012. A Review of Bycatch and Discard Issues in Indian Ocean Tuna Fisheries. IOTC-2012-WPEB08-INF20. 44 p.
  • Briand, K, B Molony, & P Lehodey. 2011. A study on the variability of albacore (Thunnus alalunga) longline catch rates in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Fisheries Oceanography. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2419.2011.00599.x. [needs access]
  • Chen, IC, PF Lee, & WN Tzeng. 2005. Distribution of albacore (Thunnus alalunga) in the Indian Ocean and its relation to environmental factors. Fisheries Oceanography, 14: 71–80.
  • Clarke, S., Sato, M., Small, C., Sullivan, B., Inoue, Y. & Ochi, D. (2014). Bycatch in longline fisheries for tuna and tuna-like species: a global review of status and mitigation measures. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 588. Rome, FAO. 199 p.
  • Hamilton, A, A Lewis, MA McCoy, E Havice, & L Campling. 2011. Market and industry dynamics in the global tuna supply chain. Forum Fisheries Agency, Honiara. 393 p.
  • Harley, S, P. Williams, S. Nicol & J. Hampton. 2014. The Western and Central Pacific Tuna Fishery: 2012 Overview and Status of Stocks. Secretariat to the Pacific Community, Oceanic Fisheries Programme. Tuna Fisheries Assessment Report 13, Noumea, New Caledonia. 31 p. Suggest using latest edition as reference.
  • ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation). 2018. ISSF Tuna Stock Status  February 2018. Status of the world fisheries for tuna, Bycatch Appendix. ISSF Technical Report 2018-02. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Kobe II Workshop on RFMO Management of Tuna Fisheries. 2010. Brisbane Convention Centre, Australia, 29 June – 1 July 2010. http://www.ffa.int/kobe2
  • Lehodey, P, F Chai, & J Hampton. 2003. Modelling climate-related variability of tuna populations from a coupled ocean-biogeochemical-populations dynamics model. Fisheries and Oceanography, 12: 483–494.
  • Lehodey, P, J Hampton, RW Brill, S Nicol, I Senina, B Calmettes, HO Pörtner, L Bopp, T Ilyina, JD Bell, & J Sibert. 2011. Vulnerability of oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific to climate change. p 433-492. In: JD Bell, JE Johnson & AJ Hobday (eds), Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia. Link to whole book
  • McCoy MA & RD Gillett. 2005. Tuna longlining by China in the Pacific Islands: a description and considerations for increasing benefits to FFA member countries. FFA Report 05/13. Gillett, Preston & Associates Inc. 80 p. 
  • Pew Environment Group. 2011. Recommendations to Kobe III joint tuna RFMO meeting. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/fact-sheets/2010/06/16/shark-bycatch-in-tuna-fisheries
  • Powers, J, M Laurs, P Knapman & R Blyth-Skyrme. 2009. Surveillance Report 2. American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) – South Pacific Albacore Troll/Jig Fishery. Report prepared for Moody Marine Ltd. 13 p.
  • Tyedmers, P & R Parker. 2012. Fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from global tuna fisheries: preliminary assessment. ISSF Technical Report 2012-¬‐03. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, McLean, Virginia, USA.
  • UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme). 2000. Cleaner Production Assessment in Fish Processing. United Nations Environment Programme. Link (accessed 7 February 2015)
  • Ward P, E Lawrence, R Darbyshire & S Hindmarsh. 2007. Large-scale experiment shows that nylon leaders reduce shark bycatch and benefit pelagic longline fishers. Fisheries Research, 90: 100-108. 

Biology

DESCRIPTION

Albacore is a large tuna with a robust and tapered body, dark blue back and lighter blue-gray sides and abdomen. The first dorsal fin is deep yellow; the second dorsal and the anal fin are light yellow; the anal finlets are dark; and the trailing edge of the tail is white. Albacore are distinguishable from other tunas by their very long pectoral fins that reach beyond the anal fin, although in some juveniles the pectoral fins may be shorter than those in similar-sized yellowfin tuna or bigeye tuna. At any age, albacore can be distinguished from yellowfin and bigeye tuna because it lacks stripes or spots on the lower flanks and abdomen and by the white trailing edge on the tail. The deepest part of the albacore's body is near the second dorsal fin, rather than near the middle of the first dorsal fin as in other tunas.

For fish of the same size, the swim bladder of albacore tuna has greater volume than that of yellowfin tuna but is smaller than that of bigeye tuna.

ECOSYSTEM ROLE

As with the oceanic tropical tuna species (skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tuna), the temperate albacore tuna is near the top of the pelagic food chain, eating a wide range of prey in the water column. Therefore, changes in the population size of albacore are expected to affect the abundance of organisms lower in the food web, with immediate effects on the micronekton (e.g. smaller fish, squid and shrimp) which are their prey.

HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

Albacore tuna is found in temperate to tropical open ocean areas of the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans. Their distribution extends from the surface of the ocean to a depth of 600 m. Albacore tuna does not occur over shallow coastal shelves (ocean depths less than about 50m). Juvenile albacore typically occur along oceanic fronts in surface waters, whereas adults are found deeper, up to depths of 450 - 600 m. Ocean gyres and fronts provide the major influences on their distribution.

In the Pacific Ocean, two albacore tuna stocks are recognized and managed separately; in the Indian Ocean (IO) albacore tuna is managed as a single stock.

All three albacore tuna stocks (IO, SPO and NPO) have a similar latitudinal gradient in the size distribution of fish.

The North Pacific Ocean (NPO) stock ranges from about 5oN to about 40oN.

The South Pacific Ocean (SPO) stock of albacore tuna ranges from 5°S to about 45°S. SPO adults spawn in tropical waters and by their first year the juveniles have moved south to the sub-Tropical Convergence Zone. Juveniles then disperse northwards from the Subtropical Convergence Zone, and may migrate seasonally between tropical and sub-tropical waters, with the seasonal shift in 23-28oC sea surface temperature band.

In the IO, adult albacore tuna are distributed widely from 5°N to 25°S but mature fish concentrate south of 10oS. Between 10oS and 30oS, mature, spawning, and immature fish approximately corresponded with the boundaries of the three oceanic current systems. Mature fish (larger than 14 kg) tend to live north of 10oS, spawning fish (October to March) in the center between 10oS and 30oS, and immature fish (smaller than 14 kg) south of 30S. At the higher latitudes, immature tuna begin to appear in catches when they attain 40 cm in length. For these fish, the sea surface variables (sea surface temperature (SST), chlorophyll concentration and surface salinity) are significant environmental factors affecting distribution. For mature albacore tuna, SST is significant, while for spawning albacore, the sub-surface variable temperatures at 100 m and oxygen at 200 m are significant. Spawning albacore appear to prefer oceanic waters with the thermocline below the depth of 250m, offering deep oceanic conditions. The IO albacore tuna demonstrate a north-south seasonal migration between their tropical spawning and more southerly feeding zones.

As with other tuna, the blood circulation system of albacore tuna has a heat exchanger that rapidly lessens heating and cooling rates. This enables the species to maintain muscle temperatures significantly above those of the environment and to increase both their swimming efficiency and the range of temperatures in which they can live.

Both Pacific Ocean stocks of albacore tuna exhibit highly migratory behavior for feeding and spawning. Albacore undergo extensive vertical migrations with lower oxygen concentration and temperature acting as a barrier to distribution. Fishing for albacore typically occurs in water temperatures from 13-30C. In the tropical SPO, albacore tuna display daily vertical movements, spending the nights in shallower, warmer waters above the thermocline and the days in deeper, cooler waters below the thermocline. In temperate latitudes of the SPO, albacore tuna do not show vertical movements and remain above the thermocline all the time.

GROWTH, REPRODUCTION AND DIET

NPO and SPO albacore tuna can live for more than 14 and 15 years, respectively, with significant numbers of fish reaching 10 years or more. For stock assessment purposes, IO albacore tuna are assumed to be able to live for more than 10 years. The longest period at liberty for a recaptured tagged albacore in the SPO is 11 years. The maximum size of albacore is 120 cm (SPO) and 128 cm (IO), and maximum weight about 40 kg, but specimens over 30 kg are very rare. Albacore are intermediate in size between skipjack and yellowfin tuna.

Growth is rapid in early life; juvenile fish reach 45 - 50 cm fork length in one year. Growth rate slows from age 2-4 years to about 10 cm per year. Albacore growth varies between the sexes and with longitude. Males grow larger than females.

Albacore mature between the ages of 4-6 years. In the NPO and SPO, female albacore mature from 78 cm fork length (FL). In the SPO, the age where 50% of the population is mature is 4.5 years. NPO albacore tuna are said to be mature at 5 years. In the IO, the approximate length at first maturity of albacore is 90 cm, at 4-5 years and at a weight of 13.5-14.6 kg.

Albacore spawn in the spring and summer. They are batch spawners, releasing batches of between 0.26 and 2.83 million eggs every 2.2 days, on average, in season. The eggs and larvae are pelagic.

In the SPO, spawning takes place in tropical and sub-tropical waters between approximately 10°S and 25°S from August to March, and peak spawning occurs between October and February. In the NPO, spawning occurs between March to September and peaks from April to June, taking place in the central and western Pacific between 100 to 250N. In the IO, spawning likely has a similar seasonality to that in the SPO.

Albacore tuna are opportunistic carnivores. Juvenile albacore feed on micronekton, whereas adults feed primarily on squid, sardines, anchovies and mackerel. The main predators of albacore are tunas (including larger albacore tuna), billfishes, sharks and rays. The prey of albacore tuna depends on the fish, squid, crustaceans and other organisms available where this species lives. In the SPO, albacore tuna in the tropics live on more deep-water prey, especially fish, compared to fish in temperate areas where they consume predominately crustaceans.


GUIDE TO FURTHER READING

Note: Details of all sources are given in References below.

For description of albacore tuna, see Bruce Collette & Cornelia Nauen (1983), and, on swim bladders, Arnaud Bertand and Erwan Josse (2000).

For ecosystem role, see Bruce Collette and others (2011).

For global distribution, see: Bruce Collette & Cornelia Nauen (1983), Gabriel Reygondeau and others (2012), ISSF (2014). For NPO stock distribution see ISC Albacore Working Group; for SPO stock Simon Hoyle & Nick Davies (2009), Jess Farley and others (2013a), Adam Langley & John Hampton (2005), Ashley Williams and others (2012); for IO I-Ching Chen and others (2005), Tom Nishida & Miyako Tanaka (2008).

For thermoregulation in tuna, see Patrick Lehodey and others (2011).

For migration, feeding and temperature effects: SPO Ashley Williams and others (2014), Patrick Lehodey and others (2011), and the IOTC stock status dashboard for albacore (Albacore species summary)

For size and age information: for SPO see David Wilson and others (2010), Jess Farley and others (2013b), RJ David Wells and others (2013), Simon Hoyle & Nick Davies (2009); for NPO see ISC Albacore Working Group (NPO); for global information see ISSF (2014).

For growth of the SPO albacore tuna stocks, see Simon Hoyle & Nick Davies (2009), Ashley Williams and others (2012), Simon Hoyle (2011), Jess Farley and others (2013b). For NPO and SPO, see K-S Chen and others (2010). For reproduction and maturity of NPO see K-S Chen and others (2010), RJ David Wells and others (2013); for SPO albacore tuna see Jess Farley and others (2014); and for IO see I-Ching Chen and others (2005). For spawning in NPO see K-S Chen and others (2010), (ISC Albacore Working Group), in SPO see Jess Farley and others (2013a); in IO, see I-Ching Chen and others (2005), and IOTC stock status board (Albacore species summary).

For diet and feeding see Ashley Williams and others (2014).

REFERENCES

  • Bertrand, A, F-X Bard & E Josse. 2002. Tuna food habits related to the micronekton distribution in French Polynesia. Marine Biology 140:1023-1037.
  • Chen, IC, PF Lee, & WN Tzeng. 2005. Distribution of albacore (Thunnus alalunga) in the Indian Ocean and its relation to environmental factors. Fisheries Oceanography, 14: 71–80.
  • Chen, K S, PR Crone, & CC Hsu. 2010. Reproductive biology of albacore Thunnus alalunga. Journal of Fish Biology, 77(1), 119-136.
  • Collette, BB, & CE Nauen. 1983. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of tunas, mackerels, bonitos and related species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis 125(2):137 p. Rome: FAO.
  • Collette, BB & 32 other authors. 2011. High value and long life – double jeopardy for tunas and billfishes. Science Express Policy Forum. www.sciencemag.org, 4 p. 8-15 July 2011; Science, 333 (6040): 291-292 (and supporting online material).
  • Farley, JH, AJ Williams, NP Clear, CR Davies, & SJ Nicol. 2013a, Age estimation and validation for South Pacific albacore Thunnus alalunga. Journal of Fish Biology, 82: 1523–1544. doi: 10.1111/jfb.12077.
  • Farley, JH, AJ Williams, SD Hoyle, CR Davies, & SJ Nicol. 2013b. Reproductive Dynamics and Potential Annual Fecundity of South Pacific Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga). PLoS ONE 8(4): e60577. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060577.
  • Farley, JH, SD Hoyle, JP Eveson, AJ Williams, CR Davies, & SJ Nicol. 2014. Maturity ogives for South Pacific albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) that account for spatial and seasonal variation in the distributions of mature and immature fish. PloS one, 9(1), e83017.
  • Hoyle, S. 2011. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean. WCPFC Scientific Committee Seventh Regular Session, 9-17 August 2011, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Paper SA-WP-06: 90 p.
  • Hoyle, S & N Davies. 2009. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean. WCPFC Scientific Committee, Fifth Regular Session, 10-21 August 2009, Port Vila, Vanuatu. Paper SA-WP-6: 134 p.
  • ISSF (International Seafood Sustainability Foundation). 2014. ISSF Tuna Stock Status Update, 2014: Status of the world fisheries for tuna. ISSF Technical Report 2014-09. International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, Washington, D.C., USA.
  • Langley, A & J Hampton. 2005. Stock assessment of albacore tuna in the South Pacific Ocean. WCPFC Scientific Committee First meeting, 8-19 August 2005, Noumea, New Caledonia. Paper SA-WP-3: 64 p.
  • Nishida, T. & M Tanaka. 2008. General reviews of Indian Ocean Albacore (Thunnus alalunga). Paper submitted to the Second Working Party on the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission Temperate Tuna Working Group (WPTMP), 1 November 2008, Bangkok, Thailand. Paper IOTC-2008-WPTe-INF03.
  • Lehodey P, J Hampton, RW Bril, S Nicol, I Senina, B Calmettes, HO Pörtner, L Bopp, T Ilyina, JD Bell & J Sibert. 2011. Vulnerability of oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific to climate change. pp 433-492, in JD Bell, JE Johnson & AJ Hobday (eds), Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea, New Caledonia.
  • Reygondeau, G, O Maury, G Beaugrand, JM Fromentin, A Fonteneau & P Cury. 2012. Biogeography of tuna and billfish communities. Journal of Biogeography, 39:114-129.
  • Wells, RJD, S Kohin, SLH Teo, OE Snodgrass, & K Uosaki. 2013. Age and growth of North Pacific albacore (Thunnus alalunga): Implications for stock assessment. Fish. Res. 147: 55– 62.
  • Williams, AJ, JH Farley, SD Hoyle, CR Davies, & SJ Nicol. 2012. Spatial and sex-specific variation in growth of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) across the South Pacific Ocean. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39318. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039318.
  • Williams, AJ, V Allain, SJ Nicol, KJ Evans, SD Hoyle, C Dupoux, E Vourey, & J Dubosc. 2014. Vertical behavior and diet of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) vary with latitude in the South Pacific Ocean. Deep-Sea Research Part II Tropical Studies in Oceanography.
  • Wilson, D, A Sands, A Leatherbarrow, & S Vieira. 2010. Eastern tuna and billfish fishery. Chapter 22. In: Fishery Status Reports 2009, Bureau of Rural Resources, Canberra. p 381-410.

Links

Contributors, Reviewers

Compilers

The information on albacore tuna compiled and edited by the following people.

  • Quick Facts: Patricia Kailola, Tarlochan Singh, and Victoria Jollands
  • Sustainability: Patricia Kailola, Victoria Jollands, and Tarlochan Singh
  • Production: Patricia Kailola, Victoria Jollands, and Tarlochan Singh
  • Supply Chains & Markets: Patricia Kailola, Victoria Jollands, and Tarlochan Singh
  • Environment & Climate: Patricia Kailola, Victoria Jollands, and Tarlochan Singh
  • Biology: Patricia Kailola and Tarlochan Singh

Editing, all pages: Meryl Williams

Information Provided by the Following

  • A.J. Williams (SPC)
  • J. Farley (SPC)
  • David Wilson (IOTC) for IOTC stock assessment reports
  • Fishbase team in the Philippines

Reviewers

Drafts of the presentation were reviewed by the following:

  • Michael McCoy – Production, Supply Chains & Markets
  • Jessica Farley – CSIRO – Biology, Environment & Climate
  • John Hampton (SPC) - Sustainability (WCP), DAvid Wilson (IO)
  • Victor Restreppo (ISSF, SAC Chair)
  • Johann Bell (SPC) - Sustainability, Biology

Photographs and Graphics

  • Secretariat for the Pacific Community
  • Johann Bell (SPC)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization
  • Media Commons

Funding and Support

Funding to prepare the skipjack information was provided by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (iss-foundation.org) and the Asian Fisheries Society (www.asianfisheriessociety.org).

In-kind support has been provided by the host organizations of those who provided information and reviewed drafts.