Canadian Highly Migratory Species Foundation (CHMSF) British Columbia albacore tuna North Pacific
Last Updated: 26 August 2014
Certified as sustainable in March 2010.
Image © CHMSF.
Species: Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
Location: Canadian EEZ and North Pacific
Fishing methods: Troll & jig
Vessels: 197 vesels
Number of fisheries: 1
MSC Fishery Assessment Status
More about tuna
Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga) is a highly migratory tuna found in all of the global oceans and Mediterranean Sea. In the Pacific Ocean there are two separate and distinct stocks of albacore, one in the North Pacific and the other in the South Pacific.
Albacore tuna mature at approximately 5 years or at about 85cm and has a lifespan of about 10 to 12 years. Growth rates are moderate, with fork lengths at first birthday nearly 40 cm. Fecundity is estimated to be 0.8 to 2.6 million eggs per spawning. In the North Pacific spawning peaks in the summer months but takes place throughout the year in subtropical waters, mostly in the western Pacific, in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands, and in some years off Guadalupe Island, Mexico.
More about the fishing methods
Trolling for albacore consists of towing artificial lures with barbless hooks behind a fishing vessel at a speed of about 6 knots. Individual trolling lines are generally 3 to 20 fathoms long and often constructed from 1/8" braided nylon line, with a 1-6 fathom leader made from150-400 pound test nylon monofilament, to which is attached an artificial feathered jig with a barbless double hook. Fish are caught one at a time on the trolling line and, upon striking the jig, are retrieved immediately with a hydraulic gurdy or line-puller, or by hand pulling. Usually about 8-14 lines may be trolled by an albacore fishing vessel, however, typically not all lines are pulled during heavy fishing activity. Trolling vessels will customarily operate with a captain and one or sometimes two crew.
Catches by the Canadian fleet in the North Pacific troll fishery have ranged from 2,734 tonnes in 1999 to 7,856 tonnes in 2004, with an average catch of 5,378 tonnes over this period. In 2008, the total reported catch was 6,056 tones, of which 1,236 tonnes was caught in Canadian waters.
Catch from the offshore fleet is sold primarily to the blast bled frozen sashimi market. Catch from the inshore fleet is sold into the canned and blast bled tuna markets.
Actual eligibility date
The theoretical target eligibility date for this fishery is April 2014, although currently certified and fully eligible to use of MSC logo and claim.