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Seafood Watch AlbacoreTuna Report

Seafood Watch AlbacoreTuna Report

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Published by MontereyBayAquarium
Albacore tuna caught by troll and/or pole-and-line is the most ocean-friendly option. One such fishery in the North Pacific is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Consumer Note:
In the U.S., albacore is widely available as canned white tuna, and occasionally available fresh, frozen or as sashimi.

Health Alert:
Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for longline-caught albacore tuna due to elevated levels of mercury. No consumption advisories are listed for troll/pole-caught albacore as these gear methods catch younger tuna with lower mercury levels.

Summary:
Albacore tuna is a highly migratory fish found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. While albacore found in the North and South Pacific and the South Atlantic are fairly abundant, those in the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans and Mediterranean Sea are in shorter supply.

Albacore is caught with a number of different gears, including trolling and pole and line (a type of hook-and-line gear). There is little to no bycatch when albacore is caught with this gear, and is a best choice where the albacore population is healthy and well-managed (for instance, from the Hawaiian, U.S., and Canadian fisheries in the North Pacific.)

However, longlining is the most common method used to catch albacore worldwide. This fishing method results in the bycatch of threatened or endangered sea turtles, sharks and seabirds in large numbers. Since there are no integrated international laws to reduce bycatch, international longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these threatened or endangered species—we recommend that consumers avoid albacore caught by international longliners. Due to strict bycatch regulations in the U.S. and a healthy population in the North Pacific, longline-caught albacore from the Hawaiian fleet is the only exception.
Albacore tuna caught by troll and/or pole-and-line is the most ocean-friendly option. One such fishery in the North Pacific is certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

Consumer Note:
In the U.S., albacore is widely available as canned white tuna, and occasionally available fresh, frozen or as sashimi.

Health Alert:
Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for longline-caught albacore tuna due to elevated levels of mercury. No consumption advisories are listed for troll/pole-caught albacore as these gear methods catch younger tuna with lower mercury levels.

Summary:
Albacore tuna is a highly migratory fish found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. While albacore found in the North and South Pacific and the South Atlantic are fairly abundant, those in the North Atlantic and Indian Oceans and Mediterranean Sea are in shorter supply.

Albacore is caught with a number of different gears, including trolling and pole and line (a type of hook-and-line gear). There is little to no bycatch when albacore is caught with this gear, and is a best choice where the albacore population is healthy and well-managed (for instance, from the Hawaiian, U.S., and Canadian fisheries in the North Pacific.)

However, longlining is the most common method used to catch albacore worldwide. This fishing method results in the bycatch of threatened or endangered sea turtles, sharks and seabirds in large numbers. Since there are no integrated international laws to reduce bycatch, international longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these threatened or endangered species—we recommend that consumers avoid albacore caught by international longliners. Due to strict bycatch regulations in the U.S. and a healthy population in the North Pacific, longline-caught albacore from the Hawaiian fleet is the only exception.

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Published by: MontereyBayAquarium on Aug 03, 2008
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10/15/2011

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Seafood Watch
Seafood Report
Albacore tuna
 
Thunnus alalunga
 
(Image courtesy of Duane Raver, Jr.)
All Regions
Final Report November 21, 2007
Updated July 8, 2008
Jesse MarshSenior Fisheries Research AnalystMonterey Bay Aquarium
 
Seafood Watch® Albacore Tuna Report July 8, 2008
1
About Seafood Watch® and the Seafood Reports
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® program evaluates the ecological sustainability of wild-caught and farmed seafood commonly found in the United States marketplace. SeafoodWatch® defines sustainable seafood as originating from sources, whether wild-caught or farmed,which can maintain or increase production in the long-term without jeopardizing the structure or function of affected ecosystems. Seafood Watch® makes its science-based recommendationsavailable to the public in the form of regional pocket guides that can be downloaded from theInternet (seafoodwatch.org) or obtained from the Seafood Watch® program by emailingseafoodwatch@mbayaq.org. The program’s goals are to raise awareness of important oceanconservation issues and empower seafood consumers and businesses to make choices for healthyoceans.
 
Each sustainability recommendation on the regional pocket guides is supported by a SeafoodReport. Each report synthesizes and analyzes the most current ecological, fisheries andecosystem science on a species, then evaluates this information against the program’sconservation ethic to arrive at a recommendation of “Best Choices”, “Good Alternatives” or “Avoid.” The detailed evaluation methodology is available upon request. In producing theSeafood Reports, Seafood Watch® seeks out research published in academic, peer-reviewed journals whenever possible. Other sources of information include government technical publications, fishery management plans and supporting documents, and other scientific reviewsof ecological sustainability. Seafood Watch® Fisheries Research Analysts also communicateregularly with ecologists, fisheries and aquaculture scientists, and members of industry andconservation organizations when evaluating fisheries and aquaculture practices. Capturefisheries and aquaculture practices are highly dynamic; as the scientific information on eachspecies changes, Seafood Watch’s sustainability recommendations and the underlying SeafoodReports will be updated to reflect these changes.Parties interested in capture fisheries, aquaculture practices and the sustainability of oceanecosystems are welcome to use Seafood Reports in any way they find useful. For moreinformation about Seafood Watch® and Seafood Reports, please contact the Seafood Watch® program at Monterey Bay Aquarium by calling 1-877-229-9990.
Disclaimer
Seafood Watch® strives to have all Seafood Reports reviewed for accuracy and completeness byexternal scientists with expertise in ecology, fisheries science and aquaculture. Scientific review,however, does not constitute an endorsement of the Seafood Watch® program or itsrecommendations on the part of the reviewing scientists. Seafood Watch® is solely responsiblefor the conclusions reached in this report.Seafood Watch® and Seafood Reports are made possible through a grant from the David andLucile Packard Foundation.
 
 
Seafood Watch® Albacore Tuna Report July 8, 2008
2
Table of Contents
I.
 
Executive Summary 3II.
 
Introduction 10III.
 
Analysis of Seafood Watch® Sustainability Criteria for Wild-caught SpeciesCriterion 1: Inherent Vulnerability to Fishing Pressure 19Criterion 2: Status of Wild Stocks 21Criterion 3: Nature and Extent of Bycatch 29Criterion 4: Effect of Fishing Practices on Habitats and Ecosystems 48Criterion 5: Effectiveness of the Management Regime 49IV.
 
Overall Evaluation and Seafood Recommendation 59V.
 
References 62VI.
 
Appendices 77

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