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Albacore Tuna

Facts

  • Status
    Near Threatened
  • Scientific Name
    Thunnus alalunga
  • Weight
    80 pounds
  • Length
    up to 4 feet long
  • Habitats
    Ocean

Albacore is one of the smaller tuna species, reaching sizes between skipjack and yellowfin. They are bullet-shaped with a dark blue back and lighter blue-gray sides and belly. Albacore tuna also have very long pectoral fins and live for around 12 years. They tend to travel in single species schools, without the level of mixing as seen in other species and migrate throughout all ocean waters and the Mediterranean.

Are We Buying the Fish We Think We’re Buying?

WWF is urging the US government to establish regulations, including the proposal of a national traceability program to track seafood from the point where it is caught to its entry into the US, under which all species of fish are eventually covered.

fishermen on a boat

Why They Matter

  • These fish are important commercially, as they are one of the two main canned tuna species (along with skipjack), and labeled as ‘solid white’ tuna. Although tuna do provide food and livelihoods for people, they are more than just seafood. Tuna are a top predator in the marine food chain, maintaining a balance in the ocean environment.

Threats

  • Extinction Risk Near Threatened
    1. EX
      Extinct

      No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died

    2. EW
      Extinct in the Wild

      Known only to survive in cultivation, in captivity or as a naturalised population

    3. CR
      Critically Endangered

      Facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the Wild

    4. EN
      Endangered

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    5. VU
      Vulnerable

      Facing a high risk of extinction in the Wild

    6. NT
      Near Threatened

      Likely to qualify for a threatened category in the near future

    7. LC
      Least Concern

      Does not qualify for Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable, or Near Threatened

According to information collected by the ISSF Scientific Advisory Committee, the northern and southern Atlantic Ocean stocks of albacore are overfished.

What WWF Is Doing

Tuna are integral parts of the entire marine ecosystem and our goal is for populations to be healthy and well-managed. We partner with governments and regional fisheries management organizations to advocate for stricter plans to recover depleted tuna stocks, combat pirate fishing and reduce bycatch.

WWF works with other organizations and the fishing industry to transform tuna fishing into a sustainable business, particularly through certification of tuna fisheries by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). WWF helps ensure that tuna are harvested responsibly and sustainably managed through work with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). We encourage retailers to source from fisheries that are MSC-certified and work to raise consumer awareness about sustainably caught tuna.

Experts

Related Species