Tuna that prefers the Mediterranean

Albacore is a relatively small tuna, growing up to about 3 feet (1 m) in length. Its body structure is most similar to that of bonito. Unlike bluefin tuna, the albacore sticks to the Mediterranean and does not migrate to the Atlantic. Fishing season for albacore is from summer to autumn.

Dictionary

English: albacore, longfin tuna

Italian: alalunga, alalonga

Croatian: tun dugokrilac, dugoperajna tuna

Slovene: beli tun

French: germon, thon blanc

Spanish: atun blanco, albacora

Portuguese: albacora, voador

German: weisser Thun, Langflossenthun

Long fins and large eyes

Albacore is identified by its long pectoral fins and noticeably large eyes. Its back is dark blue, which smoothly transitions into a shiny blue-grey tone towards the abdomen. Its neck portion is scaly, which we notice if the fishmonger cuts the fish right behind the head.

deep waters with a lower temperature

Its strong and crescent-shaped tail points to an excellent swimmer, but unlike bluefin tuna, the albacore sticks to the Mediterranean and does not migrate to the Atlantic. It likes to remain in deeper waters with a lower temperature and is rarely near the coast. The Mediterranean population reaches sexual maturity in two to three years, and reaches some 24 inches (62 cm) in length.

In most cans of tuna

Albacore flesh is white with pink tones and tastes as delicate as it looks. Due to these properties, it is popular among consumers who unknowingly taste it in most cans of tuna. It is one of the most commercially interesting species of blue fish, right after yellowfin and bluefin tuna.

On the list of endangered species

The downside of the food processing industry’s high demand for albacore's meat is its global decline in population. Despite albacore being on the IUCN Red List of endangered species (with a less fatal status than bluefin tuna), there are currently no catch limits in place.

Fishing

A good number of albacore fishing grounds are found in the Mediterranean Sea, particularly in those areas with strong currents and deeper bottoms, such as the southern Adriatic sea basin with the Strait of Otranto at the passage into the Ionian Sea, the central and southern Tyrrhenian Sea and the northern Aegean Sea – it’s no wonder Italy and Greece enjoy the largest catches of albacore in the area. In the past few years, Turkey has been joining the hunt with their fishing ground around the Antalya basin.

Albacore is fished more or less the same way everywhere – the ship tows a line several kilometres long with numerous hooks attached to it, using mostly sardines as bait. 


Tuna recipes

Tuna spread with olive oil, lemon and chives – Albino, in the Blue book, page 90

Andalusian tuna stew – Barbate, in the Blue book, page 146

Hearty tuna stew from the Basque Country – Marmitako, in the Blue book, page 148