Name Scientific: Thunnus alalunga
Availability: December to May
Attributes Weight: 3–10kg, up to 55kg
Attributes Length: 50–70cm
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.
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.
Albacore tuna belong to the Scombridae family (mackerels, tunas).
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.
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.
Albacore are caught by smaller New Zealand vessels using the troll, pole, and longline methods.
Did You Know
Albacore flesh is pinkish in colour and its meat is sometimes called 'the chicken of the sea'. Most albacore caught in New Zealand waters is frozen and sent for canning in factories around the Pacific, for example in Thailand and American Samoa.
Albacore meat is oily, and suited to these cooking methods: bake; bbq; casserole; sushi/raw; marinate; microwave; smoke; or fry Albacore.
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.