AskDefine | Define albacore

Dictionary Definition



1 relatively small tuna with choice white flesh; major source of canned tuna
2 large pelagic tuna the source of most canned tuna; reaches 93 pounds and has long pectoral fins; found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters [syn: long-fin tunny, Thunnus alalunga]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Portuguese albacor, from Arabic (al-bakūra, "the young camels").


  1. A large marine fish Thunnus alalunga of warm seas, having edible flesh


Extensive Definition

The albacore (Thunnus alalunga) is a type of tuna in the family Scombridae. This species may also be called albacore fish, albacore tuna, longfin, albies, pigfish, tombo ahi, binnaga, Pacific albacore, German bonito (but see bonito), longfin tuna, longfin tunny, or even just tuna. It is the only tuna species which may be marketed as "white meat tuna" in the United States.
It is found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea. Lengths range up to 140 cm (55 inches) and weights up to 60 kg (132 lbs).
Albacore is a prized food, and albacore fishery is economically significant. Methods of fishing include pole and line, long-line fishing, trolling, and some purse seining. It is also sought after by sport fishers.
Albacore accumulates higher levels of mercury than other kinds of tuna, and some groups have urged testing and recall of canned albacore with high mercury levels. Long-line albacore are older fish and have accumulated more mercury than younger, troll-caught albacore. A recent study by Oregon State University shows that smaller, West Coast Albacore have far lower mercury and are comparable to chunk light tuna. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises women of childbearing age and children to limit their consumption of albacore tuna (chunk white canned tuna) and tuna steaks to 6 ounces per week or less, but this advisory does not take into account different sizes of albacore and from which part of the world these albacore were harvested.
The pectoral fins of the albacore are very long, as much as 30% of the total length. The dorsal spines are 11 to 14 in number, and well forward of the rays of the dorsal fin. The anterior spines are much longer, giving a concave outline to the spiny part of the dorsal fin.

Conservation status

The World Conservation Union (IUCN), has not re-assessed Albacore in over 10 years, and the last assessment given (from 1996) was "data deficient". This is due to lack of fishing for the fish past certain depths. Assessments of the stocks of the North and South Atlantic from the same period showed them to be vulnerable and critically endangered stocks respectively, due to significant population reductions measured through an index of abundance and considering "actual or potential levels of exploitation".
SeaChoice ranks Albacore as a "best choice" for consumers, although notes some "moderate concerns" regarding the management effectiveness (in particular, no definitive survey of the albacore stock of the Indian Ocean fishery has taken place), and "moderate concern" over the fishing stock, especially regarding the North Atlantic albacore population, which the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) considers overfished with overfishing still occurring. The southern Atlantic stock is not considered overfished.

Other species called albacore

In some parts of the world, other species may be called "albacore":


commons albacore

External links


albacore in Catalan: Bacora (peix)
albacore in German: Weißer Thun
albacore in Galician: Bonito
albacore in Italian: Thunnus alalunga
albacore in Lithuanian: Ilgapelekis tunas
albacore in Dutch: Witte tonijn
albacore in Japanese: ビンナガ
albacore in Turkish: Beyaz ton balığı
albacore in Chinese: 长鳍金枪鱼
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