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Albacore Tuna

Albacore Tuna predator belongs to the genus Thunnus and order Scombriformes. This pelagic fish can be found primarily offshore on temperate and tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans comprising 6 distinct stocks.

They can grow up to 7ft in length and comes under the family Scombridae. They are commonly found in sport and commercial fisheries and have a lifespan of 10-12 years.

Albacore Tuna Description

Albacore Tuna fish has a streamlined body and at the end of its cone-shaped head, there is a largemouth. They appear silver-white on the ventral side and appear dark blue on their dorsal side.

They have large eyes and long pectoral fins. They have an anal fin and 2 dorsal fins and several finlets on their hind section and tail that make a larger caudal fin.

Albacore Tuna Distribution and Habitat

These 6 distinct stocks are distributed across the Meditteranean Sea, Indian, Atlantic, and the Pacific Ocean that makes them cosmopolitan. They prefer surface waters in the range of 50-77oF and may dive up to a distance of 2,000 ft deep.

They like other tuna species are schooling. They may either school with the same species or with other fishes like skipjack tuna who have a similar size to them. They do not mix with separate stocks and may travel great distances.

Albacore Tuna Diet

This fast-swimming fish is an excellent predator due to its largemouth, keen eyesight, and speed. But opposed to other tuna species that feed exclusively on fishes, they also prey on pelagic crustaceans, cephalopods like cuttlefish, squids, and octopuses along with fishes.

Albacore Tuna Reproduction

This tuna species is oviparous and its development occurs externally. Spawning occurs generally between November and February, females release a large number of eggs approximately 2 million at a time into the waters.

The males also simultaneously release sperms into the water. This synchronized release of gametes increases the probability of fertilization. After fertilization of the egg, the embryo formed is now a part of the zooplankton community that moves with the whim of the ocean currents.

Fry will always remain proximal to the spawning area, after 12 months they move on. They attain sexual maturity at the age of 5 to 6 years and have a life span of 12 years.

Albacore Tuna Conservation Status

Adults in this tuna species are highly migratory and travel great distances in the ocean. So as a stock, they can be difficult to manage due to their migratory tendencies. It is a task to regulate and protect their stock and requires international cooperation in policymaking and enforcement.

These fishes may be overfished due to their demand as they often are in great demand at sport and commercial fisheries. This species comes under the Near Threatened category of IUCN Red of Threatened species.

Fun Facts about the Albacore Tuna!

They may not be the most commercially valuable of tuna species, but this predator travels long distances and form a part of the GDP of various Pacific Nations. They have various interesting facts.

The Traveling Tuna: The migratory pattern of each stock of this species may differ. For instance, the North Pacific Stock travels between the temperate waters of the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Baja California. While the North Atlantic stock migrates to the Bay of Biscay.

Fisheries management maybe even more complicated for tuna as they have vast ranges that involve different jurisdictions and require cooperation for effective management. The ecology and population dynamics may differ in different stocks.

For instance, older fishes are caught more often in catches made from cooler waters in the Atlantic Ocean, while in the Pacific Ocean the older fishes are found more often in warmer waters.

This can be understood in the concept of global climate changes that affect the ocean temperature that in turn affects the range, distribution, and spawning timings of the tuna stock.

Ever-Ready: These warm-blooded fishes rarely rest as it keeps its large muscles oxygenated at all time. This requires them to be on the move so that water can pass over the gills and the bloodstream may be oxygenated continually.

Asymmetrical Gonads: They generally have asymmetrical gonads. In the case of males, the right teste is larger and in females, the right ovary is larger. They also exhibit asynchronous oocyte development, the development of female eggs does not occur at a fixed frequency. So, at a time eggs will be at different stages of development.

Albacore Tuna Citations
  • Optimal immobilization of trypsin from the spleen of albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) and its characterization. Int J Biol Macromol . 2020 Jan 15;143:462-471.
  • Reproductive Biology of Albacore Tuna (Thunnus alalunga) in the Western Indian Ocean. PLoS One . 2016 Dec 21;11(12):e0168605. 
  • Connectivity and population structure of albacore tuna across southeast Atlantic and southwest Indian Oceans inferred from multidisciplinary methodology. Sci Rep . 2020 Sep 24;10(1):15657. 

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