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Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) Fishery, Commercial Fishing for Yellowtin Tuna

The yellowfin tuna is one of the most economically important fish in the world. Commercial fisheries catch yellowfin tuna with purse seines, and by longlines

Commercial Fishing for Yellowfin Tuna:

The yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) is one of the most economically important fish in the world. Hundreds of thousands of tons are taken by commercial fishermen worldwide every year. If you open a can of tuna, if it's not albacore, then it is probably yellowfin tuna. This species, also called Allison tuna, has a wide range: it is found in a thick band around the equator throughout the world, inhabiting warm seas from the US-Canada border latitudes in the north to Australia in the south, and frequents depths from the surface down to 100 fathoms.

Modern commercial fisheries catch yellowfin tuna with encircling nets (purse seines), and by industrial longlines.

Tuna are fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers—they have been clocked at 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph)—and include several warm-blooded species. Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, tuna flesh is pink to dark red, which could explain their odd nick-name, "rose of the sea." The red coloring comes from tuna muscle tissue's greater quantities of myoglobin, an oxygen-binding molecule. Some of the larger species, such as the bluefin tuna, can raise their blood temperature above water temperature through muscular activity. This ability enables them to live in cooler waters and to survive in a wide range of ocean environments.

While many stocks are managed sustainably, it is widely accepted that bluefin have been severely overfished, with some stocks at risk of collapse. According to the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (a global, non-profit partnership between the tuna industry, scientists, and the World Wide Fund for Nature), Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna, Pacific Ocean (eastern & western) bigeye tuna, and North Atlantic albacore tuna are all overfished. In April 2009 no stock of skipjack tuna (which makes up roughly 60 percent of all tuna fished worldwide) was considered to be overfished.

Pole & Line Fishing - Formerly, much of the commercial catch was made by pole and line fishing, using live bait such as anchovy to attract schools of tuna close to the fishing vessel that were then taken with baited jigs on sturdy bamboo or fibreglass poles or on handlines. This fishery, which targeted skipjack and occasionally albacore as well as yellowfin, for canning, reached its heyday between World War I and the 1950s before declining. The most well-known fleet of pole and line boats sailed from San Diego in California and exploited abundant stocks in Mexican waters, as well as further south to Panama, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands.

Purse Seining - Purse seining largely took over commercial tuna fisheries in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, purse seines account for more of the commercial catch than any other method. The purse seine fishery primarily operates in the Pacific Ocean, in the historic tuna grounds of the San Diego tuna fleet in the eastern Pacific, and in the islands of the western Pacific, where many US tuna canneries relocated in the 1980s; but significant purse-seine catches are also made in the Indian Ocean and in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, especially in the Gulf of Guinea by French and Spanish vessels. Purse seine vessels locate tuna via onboard lookouts, as was done in the pole and line fishery, but they also employ sophisticated onboard electronics, sea-surface temperature and other satellite data, and from helicopters overhead. Once a school is located, the net is set around it.

Longline - Most of the commercial catch is canned, but the sashimi marketplace adds significant demand for high-quality fish. This market is primarily supplied by industrial tuna longline vessels. Industrial longlining was primarily perfected by Japanese fishermen who expanded into new grounds in the Western Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Longlining has since been adopted by other fishermen, most notably South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. Tuna longlining targets larger sashimi-grade fish of around 25 kilograms (55 lb) and up that swim deeper in the water column. In tropical and warm temperate areas the more valuable bigeye is often the main target, but significant effort is also directed towards larger yellowfin. Longlining seeks areas of higher ocean productivity indicated by temperature and chlorophyll fronts formed by upwellings, ocean current eddies and major bathymetric features. Satellite imaging technology is the primary tool for locating these dynamic and constantly changing ocean areas.

From Australian Marine Conservation Society:
Yellowfin tuna are predominantly longline caught; no longer subject to overfishing off the Australian east coast though some concern about stock status in the wider Pacific; no longer overfished or subject to overfishing off Western Australia due to reduced catch levels across the Indian Ocean; bycatch of sharks and turtles of significant concern; as a high level predator there are potential negative ecosystem effects of depleted Tuna populations; also imported from New Zealand and South Pacific.


Exporters of Yellowfin Tuna  |  Importers of Yellowfin Tuna  |  Processors of Yellowfin Tuna  |
Wholesale Suppliers of Yellowfin Tuna  |  Seafood Agents for Yellowfin Tuna


PT Toba Surimi Industries Canned Tuna Manufacturer - The following photos of Yellowfin Tuna are supplied by PT Toba Surimi Industries, Indonesia.

Tuna Saku:
Frozen Yellowfin Tuna - Thunnus albacares - Tuna Saku

Tuna Steak:
Frozen Yellowfin Tuna - Thunnus albacares - Tuna Steak

Tuna Cube:
Frozen Yellowfin Tuna - Thunnus albacares - Tuna Cube

See Also:
Yellowfin Tuna Photos & Information
Angling & Fishing for Yellowfin Tuna
Cooking Yellowfin Tuna and Tuna Recipes
Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacares) Commercial Fisheries
Yellow fin Tuna Links & Resources


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