FISHERY PROFILE

U.S. Pacific Albacore Tuna by Troll

FAO Fishing Area 67 — Northeast Pacific

PRIMARY SPECIES:

Albacore Tuna

FISHERY OPENINGS:

Jul 01 - Oct 31

Jig Troll

Fish harvesters use colorful plastic lures called jigs or live bait, trailed at moderate speeds behind their vessels, to catch albacore tuna. Each fish is individually hooked.  Once hooked, the fish is pulled in close behind the vessel with a hydraulic puller. Harvesters then haul in each tuna by hand for the last few feet to get it close enough to the vessel to be lifted aboard.

Harvesting Method

Jig Troll

Trolling is a slow and selective method of harvesting tuna. Albacore tuna vessels average from 35 to 60 feet (10 to 18 metres) in length and have a captain and one or two crew. Trollers usually fish offshore and can stay at sea for weeks at a time, searching for areas where Albacore school and feed. The coastal fleet fishes within Canadian and U.S. fishing zones under the US/Canada Tuna Treaty and a high-seas fleet operates thousands of miles away in the North Pacific.

Jig Troll

The most distinct feature of a troller is its long poles or outriggers which are secured to its mast by a crosstree. When fishing, the poles are spread apart forming a v-shape. The poles prevent the lines and jigs from tangling while trolling at up to six knots (7 km/h). Fishermen can have from 8 to 14 lines in the water at once. 

Conservation Measures

Trolling has a low impact on marine habitats and a negligible rate of bycatch (unwanted fish). A number of measures address conservation in the Albacore tuna troll fishery. These include:

  • Requirement for permits from the federal government
  • Recording of catch in logbooks

In this lobster fishing area, fish harvesters actively participate in scientific data collection and research such as:

  • a comprehensive data collection system on catches
  • scientific sampling of lobsters at sea
  • maintaining catch logbooks and scientific field notebooks
FISHERY DETAILS

FAO Fishing Area 67

MAP
ECO-RATINGS / CERTIFICATIONS

Seafood Watch - Best Choice

Marine Stewardship Council - Certified

Ocean Wise - Recommended

FishWatch - Click for status

FISHERY OPENINGS

Jul 01 - Oct 31

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific and Western Pacific Fishery Management Councils collaborate in the management of albacore fisheries in cooperation with the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

FISH STOCK STATUS

The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean conducts stock assessments on Albacore tuna. 

Quality and Handling

Troll-caught albacore tuna are known for their high quality and freshness. The slow-paced and selective nature of trolling means that each tuna is individually hauled aboard by hand, cleaned, washed and frozen aboard the vessel. For this reason, quality—rather than quantity—is the hallmark of troll-caught wild albacore tuna.

The albacore are frozen using chilled brine, blast and plate freezing to a core temperature of -30 degrees Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit). Freezing begins shortly after the tuna are caught so that when the fish is thawed it has the quality of being freshly caught. That’s why fishermen refer to their catch as “fresh-frozen”. Albacore are mostly canned as “white meat” tuna or are thawed and served fresh in restaurants and grocery stores.

Members

Food Info Albacore Tuna


TASTING NOTES

  • Colour: from light pink to a pale red, turning ivory or creamy white when cooked 
  • Texture: raw fillets are very soft and fall apart easily in large flakes, but firm up on cooking, forming a dense steak.
  • Flavour: a rich, but mild taste thanks to its high fat content
  • Perfect serve: Thanks to quite high fat content, albacore is excellent grilled or barbequed. Alternate large chunks of fresh tuna with vegetables on a kebab stick.
HOW TO CHOOSE A QUALITY ALBACORE TUNA