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Albacore (Tuna)

Fishing in Aruba


Albacore (Tuna)
(Thunnus Alalunga)

Commonly known by the names of Longfin Tuna, Tombo Tuna, Shiromaguro (Sushi) and Chicken of the Sea, the Longfin Tuna holds economic importance and is a target of recreational and commercial fisheries. The Albacore Tuna currently holds an All-tackle record at 39.97 kg (88lbs 20z), caught in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain on November 19, 1977, by the Angler named, Siegfried Dickemann.

The Albacore has 6 managed stocks worldwide – one in the North Pacific, one in South Pacific, one in the Indian Ocean, two in the North and South Atlantic and one in the Mediterranean Sea. The Pacific stocks are said to be stable while the Atlantic stocks are known to be overfished. As per the preliminary reports, the Indian and Mediterranean stocks are said to be declining.

The Albacore Tuna
Habitat and Behavior

The Albacore Tuna belongs to a highly migratory species that travel distances through the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. The tropical and temperate waters across the globe, in every ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, have a cosmopolitan distribution of the fish. The Albacore migrates in schools within the water bodies, while often being segregated by maturity. While traveling great distances in schools, the Atlantic and Pacific populations of the fish do not appear to mix. The North Pacific Albacore migrate to the northern part of Baja California, Mexico and the other off the coasts of Washington and Oregon, covering the two regions of the Northeast Pacific. The North Atlantic Albacore, on the other hand, head to the Bay of Biscay off of France and Spain, every summer. The Albacore Tuna possesses a range of behavioral differences depending upon region to region. The fish is known to never rest and remain on a continuous move due to its need for oxygen.

The Albacore is known to favor areas where the warm and the cold waters mix. It can easily survive at temperatures as low as 9.5 degrees Celcius(49.1 °F). Although known to be open sea hunters, the diet of an Albacore is very little.

The Albacore Tuna -
Physical Description

  • Size: With the maximum length of 1.4m (4.6 ft), the Albacore is the smallest of all the Bluefin Tuna. It reaches its sexual maturity at 0.9m (3.0 ft.), with a common length slightly larger than 1.0m (3.3 ft.). The fish can range in size from 5 to 100 pounds, although the average market weight ranges between 10 and 30 pounds.
  • Appearance : The body of an Albacore is streamlined, with a conical snout, a large mouth, and big eyes. Its body is dark blue in color, with shades of silvery white ventrally, covered with small scales. The pectoral fins of the fish begin faintly before the first dorsal fin, while extending well beyond the front of the anal fin – usually as far as the second dorsal finlet and often as long as 30% of the fish’s total length. Similar in appearance to the fish’s body, its fins are dark blue at the top, while changing to a medium yellow on the underside. The first dorsal fin is a deep yellow and the other one, smaller than the first is light yellow as is the anal fin. It has around 7-9 dorsal finlets and 7-8 anal finlets, dark blue and silvery white in color; matching the overall color of the fish’s body. The caudal fin is also silvery white in color.
  • Nutrition: The Albacore is a highly nutritious fish. Its nutrition components are as below-
  • Calories – 152
  • Fat Calories – 16
  • Total fat – 1.8g
  • Saturated Fat – 0g
  • Cholesterol – 58 mg
  • Sodium – 47 mg
  • Protein – 30 g
  • Omega 3 – 0

The Albacore Tuna
Conditions for Survival

The Albacore Tuna are pelagic predators or open-sea hunters. Their diets remain the same throughout all the seasons. The other Tuna, such as the Bigeye and the Yellowfin Tuna eat primarily fish, while the Albacore Tuna takes its main source of food from Cephalopods. Heteroteuthis Dispar, a tiny deep-water squid found in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is the most abundant cephalopod present in the Albacore’s diet. Other food sources, on the other hand, include fish, crustaceans, and gelatinous organisms. Depending upon season to season, these species dive over 400m in search of food. However, their food patterns are not known yet, probably because of the depth that they remain while searching for food.

The Albacore Tuna

With a general life span of about 11 to 12 years, an Albacore reaches its reproductive maturity at the age of around 5-6 years. At this point in age, the spawning usually takes place in the months between November and February. Evidence suggests that the Albacore spawn multiple times a year. During spawning, female Albacores produce 800,000 to 2.6 Million eggs, broadcasting them under the sea as they fertilize.

The tiny eggs, particularly 1 mm in diameter, remain buoyant by an enclosed droplet and develop rapidly after spawning. The eggs hatch within 24 to 48 hours. The eggs mature outside of the female’s body and then hatch in 1-2 days, after which they begin to grow quickly. During the first year of their lives, the juveniles remain close to the place where they were hatched. After having lived the first year of their lives, during spring, they begin to migrate up the North American coast.

The Albacore Tuna
Other Names

  • Scientific Name: Thunnus Alalunga
  • Market Name: Tuna
  • Common Name: Albacore, Longfin Tuna
  • Hawaiian Name: Tombo
  • French Name: Germon
  • German Name: Weisser Thun
  • Italian Name: Tonno
  • Japanese Name: Binnagamaguro
  • Spanish Name: Albacora

Aruba Fishing Seasons and
Availability of Albacore (Tuna)

With its spawning majorly going on in the months from November to February, the Albacore becomes abundantly available in the Aruba waters in the months from May to July. However, you can also try your luck on the catch in the months of January to March and September to December when the fish enters its season of lower availability.

When January February March April May June July August September October November December
Availability Fair Fair Fair Good Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Fair Fair Fair Fair

  • Your chances of landing the Albacore (Tuna) is excellent from May to July.
  • Albacore (Tuna) in Aruba enters its low season from January to March and September to December.
  • There is no closed season for Albacore (Tuna) fishing in Aruba.

The Albacore Tuna
How to make the Catch?

A schooling fish, albacore can be easily caught in the tropical and subtropical waters worldwide by trollers and longliners. Albacore is known to be on a continuous swim over vast distances, majorly found in the tropical, and temperate oceans. Depending upon the season of their availability, it is easier to catch the fish in places where the warm and the cold waters mix. However, the fish can be caught using both conventional and spinning tackles, while using a good reel is a must. The fish gets hooked on lures and baits, both. To overpower the powerful eyesight of the fish, you might try a fluorocarbon leader to reduce the visibility. If you locate the fish by trolling, it becomes essential to match the trolling size of the baitfish in the area. To make effective bait, you can use sardines, if in case anchovies are not available. However, using large sardines may make it challenging for the fish to bite, resulting in a failed catch. Hence, you must be careful of the size.

The Albacore Tuna
Eating for Humans

The Albacore is best known as America’s highest-grade ‘White Meat’ canned Tuna. It is, in fact, the only Tuna meat to be allowed with the label ‘white meat’. However, it can also be bought out of the can in fresh and frozen markets. High-grade ‘clipper’ Albacore loins, from which steaks can be easily taken, have been cut from freshly landed tuna and later frozen onboard. The yield and quality of an Albacore are considered excellent. It is suggested that the Tuna is kept well chilled right from the time of harvest to prevent the development of histamine, that may result in scromboid poisoning.

The Albacore has a mild, rich taste with a firm and steaky texture, along with large and moist flakes. Even though the Albacore is one of the fattiest species, its meat is less dense than the Bluefin Tuna. It has the lightest-colored meat of all the Tunas, ranging from light beige to almost brown when raw.

The Albacore Tuna

  • From light pink to a pale red, the Albacore changes to ivory or creamy white when cooked – which makes it less suited for Sashimi.
  • The raw fillets on the body of the fish become very soft and fall apart easily in large flakes. However, if firmed up on cooking, it creates a dense steak.
  • The fish has a rich but mild taste due to its high-fat Albacore tastes delicious when grilled or barbequed.
  • Alternate large chunks of fresh Tuna with vegetable can also be served on a kebab stick.
  • Like the other Tuna, Albacore appeals to meat lovers, especially when grilled.
  • One must try searing Albacore steaks to serve with a highly seasoned sauce.
  • Marinating before cooking and basting during cooking will keep the Albacore moist and prevent it from turning tough.

The Albacore Tuna -
Unknown Facts

  • The Albacore Tuna swims at a speed of 50 mph.
  • With the average lifespan of about 11to 12 years, the Albacore reach the reproductive maturity at the age of 5 to 6 years.
  • Albacore is one of the smallest members of the Tuna family, with an average size between 10 to 40 pounds (4.5 to 18 kg).

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Have a Question?
Find the Answer Here

Does Albacore Tuna have more mercury?

Yes. Albacore Tuna has high levels of mercury and hence, it should not be consumed in high amounts.

How much Albacore Tuna is safe to eat?

Found to contain high levels of mercury, the Albacore Tuna, should not be eaten very frequently—one weighing around 150 pounds should eat no more than a can of albacore tuna per week, according to sources.

Is Skipjack or Albacore Tuna better?

Skipjack Tuna is considered better to eat as it contains a lesser amount of mercury, in comparison with Albacore Tuna.

What is the difference between Yellowfin Tuna and Albacore Tuna?

An Albacore Tuna has the lightest flesh and the mildest flavor and is canned as ‘white meat’, while the Yellowfin Tuna is pale pink in color with a mild flavor and is cheaper in comparison.

Does Albacore Tuna have Omega 3?

Even though Albacore Tuna has less amount of fat than meat or poultry, it is still a rich source of essential omega-3 fatty acids that help in reducing the risk of heart diseases.

Is Albacore Tuna safe during pregnancy?

Pregnant and nursing women along with children may eat up to only 12 ounces a week of canned light Tuna and up to 6 ounces of fresh or canned Albacore (white) Tuna as they have more mercury than light Tuna.

What type of canned Tuna is healthiest?

Tuna labeled as ‘light meat’ is most likely skipjack and is the best type of canned Tuna to be eaten

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