Whilst the Mediterranean stock has undergone its first assessment, there is insufficient catch, ecological and biological data available to draw any firm conclusions in relation to maximum sustainable yield. The Committee note that catches have been stable and consistently lower than those observed in the early 2000's yet there are no reference points established.
Tuna belong to the family Scombridae. They are large, oceanic fish and are seasonally migratory, some making trans-oceanic journeys. Albacore are found throughout the world's temperate, sub-tropical and tropical oceans, although they are less common in the tropics. They are found from the surface to a depth of 600m where they often form mixed schools with skipjack, yellowfin and bluefin tuna. They grow more slowly than skipjack and yellowfin tuna, reaching a maximum size of 140cm, 60kg in weight and maximum age of 15 years. Albacore mature when about 90cm length and 4-5 years old. Spawning normally occurs between January and July.
Tuna fisheries in the Atlantic and Mediterranean are assessed by ICCAT - the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. The status of albacore stocks in the Mediterranean is based on the 2011 assessment using available data up to 2009 and 2010, respectively. The
methods used were adapted to the ?data poor? category of this stock. Results, based on the limited information available and in simple analyses, point to a relatively stable pattern for albacore biomass in the recent past. Recent fishing mortality levels appear to have
been reduced from those of the early 2000s, which were likely in excess of Fmsy, and might now be at about or lower that level. There is however, considerable uncertainty about this and the ICCAT Scientific Committee on Reporting and Statistics (SCRS) recommends the development of management measures to limit increases in catch and effort. No reference points relating to Bmsy have been established for this stock and there are no specific management measures in place for the Mediterranean albacore fisheries.
In 2011, reported landings were 4,660 t, similar to those in the last decade with the majority of this coming from longline fisheries, but is also taken in gill net, purse seine, troll and pole and line fisheries. EU-Italy is the main producer of Mediterranean albacore, with 69% of the catch during the last 10 years. In 2011 the Italian catch was slightly lower than the last five year average. Mediterranean longline fisheries are associated with bycatch of sharks, birds and turtles. Until such time as more conclusive information is available, avoid albacore from the Mediterranean.
ICCAT, 2012. Atlantic albacore executive summary report 2012-13. Available at
http://www.iccat.int/Documents/SCRS/ExecSum/ALB_EN.pdf [Accessed Dec 2012].
International Seafood Sustainability Foundation, 2011. Albacore: North Atlantic Ocean. Available at http://iss-foundation.org/science/status-of-the-stocks/ [Accessed Dec 2012].
IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on December 2012.
(Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 3 and below are included.)
Read what the consumer pages of the Good Fish Guide say about this species.
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