Albacore Tuna

(Thunnus alalunga)

Albakoor, Albacore, Longfin tunny, Longfin tuna, Langvin tuna

1. What is it?

Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) are highly migratory fish found in both the subtropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and to some extent in the Mediterranean Sea. They are large fish with lengths of up to 140cm and can weigh up to 45kg. Albacore tuna are listed as Near Threatened on IUCN’s list for threatened species. The Southern albacore total allowable catch was decreased in response to the 2013 assessment which indicated the stock is overfished. The updated assessment indicated that the Southern albacore stock is no longer considered as overfished or undergoing overfishing.

2. How was it caught or farmed?

Albacore tuna are caught using pole fishing or polling. In this type of fishing, rigid poles (2-3 meters) are attached to a feathered jig containing a barbless hook attached by a short piece of line. Pole and line is a highly selective fishing method with low bycatch and discard rates and no negative impact on the benthic habitat or surrounding environment. Bycatch in the South African pole and line fishery tends to consist of other species of tuna, yellowtail and snoek.

3. Where is it from?

Albacore tuna are fished in waters up to 1000km off south and west coast of South Africa and Namibia from November to May each year. Due to its migratory nature and global demand, albacore tuna are managed by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs). The Atlantic Ocean component is managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Member countries or co-operating non-member countries are then responsible for ensuring the implementation and adaptation of the recommended quotas and regulations. Effectiveness of the management of the Southern Atlantic Ocean component is largely unknown due to uncertainties surrounding the recovery of the stock. Management in South Africa is considered to be largely effective.