Albacore Tuna


Latin name: Thunnus alalunga


Common name: Tuna

  • Say No

Wild Caught

Region:
Indian & Pacific Ocean, Imported

Key Facts

  • Albacore tuna is a migratory species caught by a number of different countries. Australia imports fresh 'tuna' from the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
  • There are concerns from fisheries scientists that stocks in the Pacific Ocean will be overfished in coming years, as the rate of fishing is currently too high.
  • Almost all of the albacore tuna caught in the Indian and Pacific Oceans is fished using longlines.
  • Bycatch of vulnerable marine wildlife is generally not monitored, but the impact of longlining on many shark species has been well documented. Population declines of sharks as a result of bycatch on tuna longlines is of major concern, particularly as sharks are sometimes targeted for their high value fins.
  • NOTE: Albacore tuna are also caught using pole and line and troll fishing methods, which are highly selective with minimal impacts on vulnerable marine wildlife.

Note: At the point of sale, information on the type of fishing method used to catch the fish is generally not available. However, while the majority of albacore tuna imported is caught in longline fisheries, some albacore tuna are caught using pole and line or troll fishing methods, which is a highly targeted method of fishing with minimal catch of vulnerable marine wildlife.

More information

  • Indian Ocean, Western & Central Pacific Ocean stocks

Albacore tuna is a highly migratory species, fished throughout its range in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans and in the Mediterranean Sea. Trade records indicate Australia imported 318t of fresh, frozen and chilled (not including canned) tuna in 2011-12 from Fiji, Indonesia, the Maldives and NZ, but no detail of species imported or where the fish was caught is provided. Therefore it is not possible to provide specific advice on individual fisheries and the red ‘Say No’ ranking is the result of an assessment of the main way in which albacore tuna are fished and general stock status in the Western and Central Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The stock structure of albacore tuna is complicated, as there are a number of different stocks in the Pacific and Indian Oceans that are targeted by a range of different countries. In general, there is some concern from fisheries scientists that some stocks in the Pacific Ocean may become overfished in the near future, as current levels of fishing are too high.

Almost all albacore tuna caught in the Pacific and Indian Oceans is taken using longlines. The countries that manage the fisheries generally do not monitor the bycatch caught on longlines, and independent observer coverage is low to non-existent. While the amount of bycatch of vulnerable marine wildlife caught is not clear, the bycatch of significant numbers of sharks and turtles in tuna longline fisheries has been well documented. Sharks are often targeted for the high value of their fins, a practice that is increasing in many tuna longline fisheries that catch albacore tuna. Scientists have assessed that tuna longlining has contributed to population declines of a number of shark species worldwide.

NOTE: At the point of sale, information on the type of fishing method used to catch the fish is generally not available. However, while the majority of albacore tuna imported is caught in longline fisheries, some albacore tuna are caught using pole and line or troll fishing methods, which is a highly targeted method of fishing with minimal catch of vulnerable marine wildlife.