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Albacore Working Group

General Information

The Albacore Working Group (ALBWG) was established in 2005, but was preceded by the North Pacific Albacore Workshop which was established in 1974. The Working Group is made up of members from coastal states and fishing entities of the region and members from relevant intergovernmental fishery organizations.

The Albacore Working Group regularly assesses and analyses fishery and other relevant information to determine the status of the north Pacific stock of albacore tuna, and to develop scientific advice concerning conservation needs. The most recent stock assessment was completed in 2011.

Albacore (Thunnus alalunga) --- North Pacific

◊ Biological Profile

North Pacific albacore are highly migratory species and these movements are influenced by ocean conditions. Seasonal movements have been observed, especially among juvenile fish, which move into temperate waters of the eastern and western Pacific Ocean in the spring and early summer and return to the central Pacific Ocean in the late fall and winter. Adults tend to be distributed more widely than juveniles and migrate to lower latitudes to spawn.

  • Spawning season :
    March - September, peaks April - June
  • Spawning area :
    Subtropical waters between 10 and
    25 °N in central and western Pacific
  • Feeding area :
    Temperate waters north of 25°N
  • Life span : At least 15 years
  • Maturity : 50% age-5, 100% age-6
Distribution and spawning area of
albacore in the North Pacific Ocean.

◊ Fisheries for Albacore in the North Pacific Ocean

Extensive surface and longline fisheries harvest albacore in the North Pacific Ocean.Surface fisheries (troll and pole-and-line) capture smaller immature juvenile albacore and account for more than 60% of catch since 1952. Longline fisheries tend to catch mature fish and account for 30% of catch by weight since 1952. Other gears are also used and harvest about 8% of the total catch of North Pacific albacore.
Main fisheries landing albacore
by fishing gear and country.
alb_gear_list - Click to zoom up

The total catch has ranged between 37,000 to 127,000 metric tons (t) historically and for the 30 year period, 1981-2010 has averaged 72,429 t. During the last decade (2000-2009), fisheries in Japan accounted for 65% of the total annual harvest on average, followed by fisheries in the United States (16%), in Canada (7%), and in Chinese-Taipei (7%).

Annual landings of albacore from ISC members
in the North Pacific Ocean, 1952-2011.

◊ Stock Status and Conservation Information

Click here to see the latest information.

Current Research Topics

The 2011 assessment of north Pacific albacore is based on the best available biology, fishery data, and modeling techniques at this time. Nevertheless, many research recommendations were identified during the assessment process that could improve the assessment model. These recommendations are categorized into following six priority areas:

  • Age and Growth Modeling
  • Spatial Patterns Analysis
  • CPUE Analysis
  • Maturity
  • Data Improvements
  • SS3 Model Improvements

Latest Stock Assessment

Click here to see the information.

Working Group Reports and Working Papers

Working Group Chair
Hidetada Kiyofuji