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Albacore Tuna     

 

 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.

 

 

 

    Albacore tuna swim near the surface together in loose formations for the first years of their lives. Then, when the albacore get older, they become more independent and spend 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.

 

 

 

    This  schooling behavior dictates which gear types are appropriate for different 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 least 50 miles from shore and quite often several hundred miles out.   The fish are bled immediately (which produces a lighter colored , milder fish) and lightly brined then put directly into the blast freezer.  These freezers are monitored constantly and the fish never allowed to reach temperatures above   0º F and usually run at -30º F.

  
 
 
  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

 

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