Our white meat tuna comes only from albacore (Thunnus alalunga). Albacore ranges in size from 10 – 80 lbs. Albacore is a highly migratory species, always on the move and found in the northern and Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Albacore catches represent only about 5% of the worlds tuna catch on an annual basis. Albacore meat is snowy white with a very mild flavor.
The primary method of catching adult albacore is the longline fishing method. Longline fishing for tuna accounts for about 14 percent of the world’s tuna catch. This method is the best way to catch fish that swim deeper, such as larger albacore, yellowfin and bigeye. In addition to supplying the canned tuna processing industry, longline fisheries also supply the fresh and frozen tuna markets.
This method consists of a main line, kept afloat with buoys, from which branch lines are suspended, each with a baited hook attached to the end.
A marker buoy with locater beacon attached to the main fishing line is deployed into the sea. This main fishing line can be 40 miles long and has buoys attached at intervals to keep the main line afloat and at the correct depth. The main line is usually set at dawn. Baited hooks attached to branch lines, or leaders, are attached at intervals to the main line as it is run out.
To retrieve the main line, the main buoy is located, pulled onto the fishing vessel, and the main line is pulled mechanically back onto the vessel. The retrieval process can take up to 10 hours.
As the main line is pulled in, any fish hooked is brought on board and blast frozen and stored until it is unloaded for processing.
Click here to see the status of the global albacore stocks http://iss-foundation.org/science/status-of-the-stocks/