Other names: albacore tuna, long-finned albacore, albies
Scientific name:Thunnus alalunga
A medium size tuna, albacore have a dark blue upper body without spots or stripes. They have the longest pectoral fin of all the tunas, extending back behind the second dorsal fin. Other identifying features include a dark yellow first dorsal fin, pale yellow second dorsal and anal fins and a distinctive white outer edge on the tail fin.
Up to 1.3 metres and 55 kg.
Albacore travel to Tasmania on the eastern Australian current from sub-tropical waters. They are found from shallow coastal waters out to the continental shelf in depths ranging from 10-300 metres, commonly in schools off eastern Tasmania from late summer and through autumn.
A popular recreational species, this highly migratory fish is found with other tunas such as skipjack and yellowfin. Caught by trolling a variety of hard and soft bodied lures at varying depth ranges. The main recreational season in Tasmania is from January through to April.
Responsible fishing tips:
Avoid long playing times by using heavier line. Use a large de-hooker or pliers to remove hook. Use barbless single hooks on lures. Minimise interactions with seals and other wildlife. Don’t dispose of fish frames around boat ramps.
If practising catch and release, keep tuna out of the water for the minimum time possible and handle with wet hands or cloth. Don’t use a gaff. Larger tuna should be released without removing them from the water. If photographing, hold horizontally.
Tuna need to be correctly handled after capture to retain the best eating quality. They should be killed using a brain spike, bled, then cleaned and chilled shortly after capture. Arguably the best eating of Tasmania’s tunas, albacore has a paler, dry flesh when cooked. Sometimes referred to as the ‘chicken of the sea’. Use as fillets or steaks.
Fish illustration by Peter Gouldthorpe