AAFA and WFOA North Pacific albacore tuna
Last Updated: 23 February 2016
MSC Assessment Status
Certified as sustainable on 23 August 2007.
Re-certified as sustainable in December 2012.
Species: Albacore tuna (Thunnus alalunga)
Location: Pacific Ocean
Fishing methods: Pole-and-line and troll-and-jig
Vessels: Members of the American Albacore Fisheries Association (AAFA)
Number of fisheries: 1
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Download Fishers' stories - Net Benefits 2009 - AAFA Pacific albacore tuna (PDF, 200kb)
More about tuna
Albacore tuna is a highly migratory tuna found in oceans around the world. They mature relatively early, at approximately 6 years and have a moderate lifespan, to about 10 to 12 years.
Albacore are generally considered inherently resilient to fishing pressure because they:
- have a high rate of intrinsic increase
- mature at an early age
- produce many eggs, about 2.6 million per spawning
- are not long-lived
- have a broad distributional range
- do not exhibit any characteristics that increase the ease or population consequences of capture
As a highly migratory species albacore are targeted by a number of different fishing fleets from several nations. However, information from all fisheries catching albacore tuna is available and helps to overcome this potential problem.
More about the fishing methods
Trolling for albacore consists of towing artificial lures with barbless hooks, ‘trolls’, behind a fishing vessel at a speed of about 6 knots. If fishers see or feel a tuna on a line they pull it in. Trolling brings fish to the surface and helps to locate schools of albacore. The vessel stops near the school, and fishers keep the school close by throwing small amounts of live fish chum, often anchovy.
In pole-and-line fishing, individual fishers use a stout pole, formerly constructed of bamboo and now made of fibreglass or a high-technology composite, with a short line that has a single barbless hook with either an artificial lure or live bait.
Fishers may use one or both of these methods together for harvesting. Both are notably ‘clean’ fishing methods that catch one fish at a time. The absence of nets in both methods ensures the fishery is ‘dolphin free’.
5,000 metric tonnes (combined with AAFA Pacific albacore tuna - south fishery)
Canned albacore is sold in the US and other markets around the world. Fresh and frozen albacore loins are marketed in both the US and other markets around the world.
Watch a video about the AAFA fishers