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Albacore Working Group
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.
◊ Fisheries for Albacore in the North Pacific Ocean
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%).
◊ Stock Status (From ISC13)
Although there is uncertainty in the absolute estimates of biomass (total and SSB) and fishing mortality, the stock status and conservation advice based on the FSSB-ATHL reference point are relatively insensitive to these uncertainties as trends in SSB and recruitment are robust to the different plausible assumptions tested. Estimates of F2006-2008 (current F) expressed as a ratio relative to several potential F-based reference points (FMAX, F0.1, FMED, F20-50%) are less than 1.0 and SSB is currently around the long-term median of the stock and is expected to fluctuate around the historical median SSB in the future assuming constant F2006-2008 and average historical recruitment. The ratio F2006-2008 /FSSB-ATHL is 0.71, which means current F is well below the fishing mortality that would lead SSB to fall below the SSB- ATHL threshold. Thus the stock in not experiencing overfishing and the stock is not in an overfished condition, (e.g., F20-50% < 1.0), although biomass-based reference points have not been established for this stock.
◊ Conservation Advice (From ISC13)
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:
Latest Stock Assessment
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Working Group Reports and Working Papers
⇒ La Jolla, USA (November 2005)
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