For more information on
Albacore tuna fishing,
please contact Jessi Doerpinghaus.

Albacore Tuna
Albacore tuna
Thunnas alalunga

Description: Pectoral fin extremely long – extends well beyond front of anal fin except in specimens under about 1 ft. (30 cm). Usually 7-9 dorsal finlets, 7-8 anal finlets. Liver striated on ventral surface. 25-31 gill rakers on 1st arch. Dark blue above; shading to silvery white below. 1st dorsal fin deep yellow, 2nd dorsal and anal fins light yellow. Anal finlets dark. Caudal fin white-edged.

Size: To 4 ½ feet (137 cm)

Range/Habitat: Worldwide in temperate seas; rare in tropics; Alaska to Revillagigedo Island (Mexico). Open seas and clear water; seldom close to shore.

Source: Pacific Coast Fishes
Houghton Mifflin Company
Eschmeyer, Herald, and Hammann 1983

Albacore tuna (Thunnas alalunga) is one of the most sought after fish around the world, both commercially and recreationally, and are classified as a Highly Migratory Species (HMS). In the United States they are managed federally by National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in cooperation with state fish and wildlife agencies. To avoid overfishing albacore, NMFS and the State Department work through international management forums to regulate tuna fisheries. To help keep albacore from becoming overfished, NMFS must work with international agencies in regulating or capping tuna catches in the U.S. The United States is a member of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) which is composed of 15 countries who have banded together to make recommendations for the conservation of tunas and other HMS.

Albacore are found around the world in warm temperate waters and can migrate thousands of miles each year. Albacore tuna can live up to 12 years and mature at around five years. Spawning occurs in tropical and subtropical waters. The female casts her eggs in open waters and then the male fertilizes the eggs. It is thought that the developing tuna spend their first year of life in the general area the female scattered the eggs and then they move closer to shore, maybe off of Japan or other islands, where they can spend time foraging. Juvenile albacore feed primarily on squid. As an albacore ages it feeds less on squid and more on fish such as saury, lanternfish, or rockfish. Albacore off Washington and Oregon feed primarily on saury and northern anchovy.

Northern anchovy
Northern anchovy

Through tagging studies, albacore have been known to travel the 5,300 miles between California and Japan in less than a year.

Albacore tuna migrations and longline catch areas
Albacore tuna areas of surface fishery and spawning areas
Source: Tuna and Billfish – fish without a country
La Jolla, California: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. 1988.
Joseph, J., W. Klawe and P. Murphy.