AAFA and WFOA South Pacific albacore tuna — Marine Stewardship Council
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AAFA and WFOA South Pacific albacore tuna

AAFA Pacific Albacore tuna fishers

Last Updated: 24 May 2016

MSC Assessment Status

Certified as sustainable on 23 August 2007.
Re-certified as sustainable in December 2012. 

As of the 3 March 2014, the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) - south fishery has merged with the American Western Fish Boat Owners Association (WFOA) albacore tuna North Pacific fishery.

For the assessment details, please refer to the assessment downloads section.  For further information, contact the Conformity Assessment Body.


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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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’.

Fishery tonnage

5,000 metric tonnes (combined with AAFA Pacific Albacore tuna - north fishery)


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