name = Albacore
status = DD
status_system = iucn2.3
status_ref = IUCN2006|assessors=Uozumi|year=1996|id=21856|title=Thunnus alalunga|downloaded=12 May 2006]

image_width = 240px
image_caption =
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
ordo = Perciformes
familia = Scombridae
genus = "Thunnus"
species = "T. alalunga"

range_map_caption =
binomial = "Thunnus alalunga"
binomial_authority = (Bonnaterre, 1788)

The albacore, "Thunnus alalunga", is a type of tuna in the family Scombridae. This species is also called albacore fish, albacore tuna, longfin, albies, pigfish, tombo ahi, binnaga, Pacific albacore, German bonito (but see bonito), longfin tuna, longfin tunny, or even just tuna. It is the only tuna species which may be marketed as "white meat tuna" in the United States.

It is found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Lengths range up to 140 cm (55 inches) and weights up to 60 kg (132 lbs).

Albacore is a prized food, and the albacore fishery is economically significant. Methods of fishing include pole and line, long-line fishing, trolling, and some purse seining. It is also sought after by sport fishers.

The pectoral fins of the albacore are very long, as much as 30% of the total length. The dorsal spines are 11 to 14 in number, and well forward of the rays of the dorsal fin. The anterior spines are much longer, giving a concave outline to the spiny part of the dorsal fin.

Conservation status

The International Scientific Committee (ISC) conducts regularly scheduled stock assessments of Pacific albacore. The 2006 stock assessment found the albacore stocks to be at or near record highs. The North and South Pacific albacore stocks are not overfished. The ISC findings are accepted by the [ Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission] and the [ Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission] and employed in the responsible management of Pacific albacore tuna stocks.

Regrettably, the same cannot be said for Atlantic stocks of albacore. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has not re-assessed Albacore in over 10 years, and the last assessment given (from 1996) was "data deficient". Other assessments of the North and South Atlantic stocks from the same period showed them to be vulnerable and critically endangered respectively, due to significant population reductions measured through an index of abundance and considering "actual or potential levels of exploitation". No similar finding was made regarding Pacific albacore, which are believed to be at or near historically high spawning stock levels.

Consumers, albacore and sustainable fisheries

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of fisheries. A number of programs have been developed to help consumers identify and support responsible and sustainable fisheries. Perhaps the most widely accepted of these programs is that of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The [ Marine Stewardship Council] , after extensive review of the best available science, declared the U.S. North and South Pacific albacore pole & line and troll fisheries ("pole & troll") as the first and only certified sustainable tuna fisheries in the world.

U.S. albacore vessels are eligible for the MSC certification through a certification-sharing program administered by the [ American Albacore Fishing Association.]

Products from MSC certified sustainable fisheries are readily identifiable by the MSC's distinctive blue and white "eco-label".

The MSC certification program establishes that the seafood product is traceable to the certified sustainable fishery.

By purchasing products bearing the MSC eco-label, consumers express their support for sustainable fisheries and encourage the use of sound fishing methods that promote the future health and abundance of ocean ecosystems.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch has a consumer education program to raise awareness about the importance of buying seafood from sustainable sources. This program recommends which seafoods to buy or avoid, and help consumers to become advocates for environmentally friendly seafood.

The mission of the Aquarium's Seafood Watch program is to empower consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans. Helpful publications and guides are available upon request.

The NOAA Fishwatch program aims to provide concise fishery information to consumers. FishWatch can help consumers make informed decisions about the seafood they eat.

The government's Fishwatch program seeks to provide consumers with accurate and timely information on U.S. seafood fisheries. [ NOAA Fishwatch - Pacific albacore]

Mercury and albacore

Like other fish, albacore bio-accumulate mercury over time, and some groups have urged testing and recall of older canned albacore that may have high mercury levels. Albacore caught with long-line fishing gear are older fish and have accumulated more mercury than younger, pole and line or troll-caught albacore.

Recent studies from the U.S. and Canada show that the albacore caught by the American albacore fishing fleet off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California have far lower mercury levels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises women of childbearing age and children to limit their consumption of albacore tuna (chunk white canned tuna) and tuna steaks to six ounces per week or less. However, the FDA advisory does not distinguish the albacore caught off the West Coast from albacore caught in other parts of the world.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program lists "pole & troll" caught Pacific albacore from the US and Canadian fisheries as a "Best Choice" in its sustainability rankings.

The Monterey Fish Market Seafood Sustainability Advisory list claims that fishery researchers generally agree that the North Pacific albacore population is a healthy stock at the current time. The list considers the North Pacific albacore fishery to be "eco-friendly", in that there is very little by-catch and no impact on fishery habitat. Also, unlike some other tuna species, albacore do not usually swim with dolphins - and for this reason there is not a dolphin-associated albacore fishery anywhere in the world. [web cite|url=|title=Our Advisory List|work=Monterey Fish Market|accessdate=2007-02-21 ]

SeaChoice ranks albacore as a "best choice" for consumers, although notes some "moderate concerns" regarding the management effectiveness (in particular, no definitive survey of the albacore stock of the Indian Ocean fishery has taken place), and "moderate concern" over the fishing stock, especially regarding the North Atlantic albacore population, which the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) considers overfished with overfishing still occurring. The southern Atlantic stock is not considered overfished. The North Pacific and South Pacific albacore stocks are not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. [web cite|url=|title=Tuna: Albacore|work=Seachoice|accessdate=2007-02-21]

Other species called albacore

In some parts of the world, other species may be called "albacore":
* Blackfin tuna "Thunnus atlanticus" (albacore)
* Yellowfin tuna "Thunnus albacares" (albacore, autumn albacore, yellowfinned albacore)
* Yellowtail amberjack "Seriola lalandi" (albacore)
* Kawakawa "Euthynnus affinis" (false albacore)
* Little tunny "Euthynnus alletteratus" (false albacore)


External links

* [ Marine Stewardship Council (international independent certification of sustainable fisheries)]
* [ American Albacore Fishing Association (MSC certified Pacific U.S. "pole & troll" albacore)]
* [ Wild Pacific Albacore]
* [ NOAA Fishwatch]
* [ American Fishermens Research Foundation]
* [ Western Fishboat Owners Association]
* []
* [,8599,1706623,00.html?imw=Y TIME MAGAZINE: The Danger of Not Eating Tuna]
* [ Etymology of "albacore"]
* [ FishBase info for albacore]
* [ Communicating FDA advice on consumption of albacore tuna.]
* [ "Albacore"] by R. Michael Laurs and Ronald C. Dotson, 1992, retrieved January 19, 2006.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • albacore — [ albakɔr ] n. m. • v. 1525; hispano amér. albacora ou port. albecora, p. ê. de l ar. al bakûra « jeune thon », de bakûr « précoce » ♦ Zool. Thon blanc. ⇒ germon. ● albacore nom masculin (espagnol albacora, de l arabe bakūra, jeune bonite) Autre… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Albacore — Albacore, nach der englischen Bezeichnung für den Weißen Thun, bezeichnet: Fairey Albacore, ein Torpedobomber im Zweiten Weltkrieg HMS Albacore, Name mehrerer Schiffe der Royal Navy USS Albacore (AGSS 569), ein US amerikanisches Versuchs U Boot,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • albacore — [al′bə kôr΄] n. pl. albacores or albacore [Port albacora < Ar al, the + bakāra, pl. of buko, young camel] a tuna (Thunnus alalunga) with unusually long pectoral fins, important as a game and food fish in all warm seas; loosely, other similar… …   English World dictionary

  • Albacore — Al ba*core, n. (Zo[ o]l.) A name applied to several large fishes of the Mackerel family ({Scombridae}), esp. {Thunnus alalunga} (formerly {Orcynus alalonga}); it is a type of tuna or tunny. The name has been also applied to a larger related… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • albacore — (n.) large variety of tuna, 1570s, from Port. albacora, from Arabic al bakara milk cow; the fish so called for its size …   Etymology dictionary

  • albacore — ► NOUN ▪ a tuna of warm seas which travels in large schools and is an important food fish. ORIGIN Arabic, probably from a word meaning «premature, precocious» …   English terms dictionary

  • albacore — /al beuh kawr , kohr /, n., pl. (esp. collectively) albacore, (esp. referring to kinds or species) albacores. 1. a long finned tuna, Thunnus alalunga, of warm or temperate seas, the flesh of which is valued for canning. 2. any of various tunalike …   Universalium

  • Albacore — Thon jaune Thon jaune …   Wikipédia en Français

  • albacore — noun (plural core or cores) Etymology: Portuguese albacor, from Arabic al bakūra the albacore Date: 1579 a large pelagic tuna (Thunnus alalunga) with long pectoral fins that is a source of canned tuna; broadly any of various tunas (as a bonito) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • albacore — /ˈælbəkɔ/ (say albuhkaw) noun (plural albacore or albacores) 1. a medium sized tuna of warm seas, Thunnus germo, with dark blue back and silvery belly, and having a characteristically long pectoral fin. 2. any of various fishes related to or… …   Australian-English dictionary

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