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Thunnus alalunga
Family: Jacks (Carangidae)

Other Names:

Longfin Tuna, Albacore

Range and Habitat:

Albacore range Gulfwide, in the open sea away from shore. They are uncommon to rare in the Gulf of Mexico. Most catches made are from the northern Gulf.

Identification and Biology:

This deep-bodied, streamlined fish can easily be identified by its very long pectoral fins. When folded back, they easily reach beyond the origin of the second dorsal fin. Also, the rear edge of the tail fin is trimmed in white.

In the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, where albacore are more common, they may form schools 20 miles wide. In the Gulf of Mexico, they are migratory stragglers that are usually found with yellowfin and blackfin tunas. While albacore do spend time near the surface, they tend to seek temperatures of 62-70?F, which means that they spend much of their time below the thermocline or temperature break. They can live at least 10 years and begin to spawn at about age 5. Spawning is usually done in large groups. For this species, males live longer and grow larger. Albacore consume the typical tuna diet of a variety of fish, as well as squid and crustaceans. See entry on “Yellowfin Tuna” for general information on tuna biology.


Most catches are under 60 pounds, but this fish can reach 100 pounds.

Food Value:

Excellent; the color of its flesh is pink to light pink. It is, however, still an oily fish better suited to grilling and broiling than other preparations.

Description By: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter