Albacore tuna are a dark blue on top,
with a lighter underbelly.
Fish that have this kind of
shading are commonly found near the water's surface and live in the open ocean
-- typically in cooler regions.
In contrast, brightly
colored fish live in warmer, tropical
waters -- this is why they're called
tropical fish! Tuna are also known for their very high swimming speed and keen
fighting ability. Albacore can be recognized as such by the extraordinarily long
pectoral fin. This is the fin located on
each side of the body and stretches over
thee-fourths the length.
swim near the
surface together in loose formations for the first years of their
Then, when the albacore get older, they become more independent and
most of their time in deeper, cooler waters.
Young tunas grow quickly and remain near the surface of the ocean for their
first three or four years. The survivors of a single spawning often swim and
feed together in schools. Some of these schools may contain several species of
young tunas, for the young generally prefer the warmer surface waters while the
adults seek the cooler temperatures of the depths. This schooling behavior may
protect the young because the constantly shifting and shimmering mass of the
school makes it difficult for a predator to single out an individual to attack.
A tuna remains in the surface schools for about five years. Then, for unknown
reasons, it abandons the schools and becomes a more solitary, deepwater swimmer.
schooling behavior dictates which gear types are appropriate for
species. For example, some species -- like sardines, mackerel and squid
-- swim in very large, distinct, tight formations. The most practical,
efficient method for catching those kinds of fish is to encircle
them with purse seine nets. On the other hand, albacore do not swim in
tight schools, and nets are therefore not appropriate for catching them.
The F/V Evening Star catches albacore by trolling between 10 and 20 lines on the
surface of the ocean. The hooks are
baited with lures, jigs or hutchies. They are usually at
50 miles from shore and quite often several hundred miles
The fish are bled immediately (which produces a lighter colored ,
fish) and lightly brined then put directly into the blast
These freezers are monitored constantly and the fish never allowed to
temperatures above 0º F and usually run at
Know that the fish you
buy from U.S. fishermen are caught individually with a hook and line, never with
a net. Thus there is never any injury or death of porpoise or whales.
NEXT: More Tuna Fishing