Albacore tuna

Maori name:
Scientific name: Thunnus alalunga
Availability: December to May
Weight: 3–10kg, up to 55kg
Length: 50–70cm

Albacore tuna

Scientific name: Thunnus alalunga
Availability: December to May
Weight: 3–10kg, up to 55kg
Length: 50–70cm
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Location

They are widespread in the warmer tropical waters north of New Zealand, where they arrive in the summer. Generally they are found over the outer shelf and are attracted to current boundaries. Some deep-swimming adults may be found as far as 45 degrees south. Smaller, surface-schooling juveniles appear in the summer from the Bay of Plenty to Cook Strait and down the west coast of the South Island.

Attributes

Dark metallic blue body above, silvery-white below, and iridescent, lighter-blue sides. The body is rounded and streamlined and is moderately slender. The anal finlets are white, and the pectoral fins reach almost to the anal finlets in adults. Other fins are yellowish, and there is a white section on the tail.

Family

Albacore tuna belong to the Scombridae family (mackerels, tunas).

Spawning

Their spawning grounds are in the tropical Pacific, and most of those found off the New Zealand coast are at least two years old. Their summer grounds are from East Cape to Hawke Bay and sometimes south to Kaikoura as well as along the west coast from New Plymouth to Fiordland. The winter grounds are off the east coast from the Kermadec Islands to the Chatham Rise.

Sustainability

The New Zealand albacore troll fishery has been certified by the Marine Stewardship Council since 2010. Albacore tuna are a highly migratory species. Albacore caught in New Zealand waters are part of the South Pacific Albacore stock, and managed outside the Quota Management System. Stock assessments are conducted under the auspices of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. The 2012 assessment concluded that the stock biomass was above the level that supported maximum sustainable yield and that overfishing is very unlikely to be occurring. The key target fishery for albacore in New Zealand is a troll fishery that operates primarily off the west coast of the North and South Islands.

Fishing methods

Albacore are caught by smaller New Zealand vessels using the troll, pole, and longline methods.

Nutrition

Albacore tuna is a good source

To quality for a 'good source' claim the food must contain at least 25% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Phosphorus

Phosphorus is necessary for normal teeth, bone and cell membrane structure and for energy metabolism

, Selenium

Selenium is necessary for normal immune system function and for the production of thyroid hormones and it contributes to the maintenance of hair and nails

, Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is necessary for normal neurological function and it contributes to blood formation, energy metabolism and to the growth and development in children

and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is necessary for normal bone structure and the utilisation of calcium and phosphorus and it contributes to the maintenance of normal teeth

; and a source

To quality for a 'source' claim the food must contain at least 10% of the RDI.
The Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is considered to be the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97–98 per cent) healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group.

of Iodine

Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, for normal neurological function and for normal energy metabolism, and it contributes to the growth and development in children

, Potassium

Potassium is necessary for water and electrolyte balance, it contributes to the functioning of the nervous system and normal muscle function; and to the normal growth and development of children

and Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin (vitamin B3) is necessary for the release of energy from food and for the normal structure and function of skin and mucous membranes, and contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue

.

Seafood is a highly nutritious food and is a great source of protein

Protein is necessary for tissue building and repair, normal growth and development of bone in children and adolescents aged 4 years and over, and contributes to growth and maintenance of muscle mass

. Many species are low in saturated fat and a number of them are a good source of Omega 3

Omega 3 is a group of fatty acids that contribute to heart health

.

Tips

Albacore meat is oily, and suited to these cooking methods: bake; bbq; casserole; sushi/raw; marinate; microwave; smoke; or fry Albacore.

Buying & Storage Tips

Most albacore tuna is processed and canned. It is also available whole and in steaks.When buying fresh whole albacore tuna, always check the...
EYES: Bright and clear cornea, shiny black pupil
GILLS: Rosy pink pastel coloured gills
SKIN: Bright, with a luminous sheen

When buying albacore tuna steaks, always check the...
FLESH: pinkish, semi-transparent and glossy

If the fish looks sticky or mushy then it is not fresh.