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Thunnus alalunga:   (click for more)

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  • Scomber alatunqa  Gmelin, 1789
  • Scomber germo  Lacepéde, 1800
  • Orcynus germon  Cuvier, 1817
  • Orcynus alalonga  Risso, 1826
  • Thynnus alalonga  Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1831
  • Orcynus alatunga  Gill, 1862
  • Thunnus alalonga  South, 1845
  • Orcynus pacificus  Cooper, 1863
  • Orcynus germo  Lutken, 1880
  • Germo alalonga  Jordan, 1888
  • Albacora alalonga  Dresslar & Fesler, 1889
  • Germo alalunga  Jordan & Evermann, 1896
  • Thynnus alalunga  Clarke, 1900
  • Germo germon  Fowler, 1905
  • Germo germo  Jordan & Seale, 1906
  • Thunnus alalunga  Jordan, Tanaka, & Snyder, 1913
  • Thunnus germo  Kishinouye, 1923
  • Germo germon steadi  Whitley, 1933
    FAO Names
    En - Albacore, Fr - Germon, Sp - Atún blanco.
    3Alpha Code: ALB     Taxonomic Code: 1750102605
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Scomber alalunga  Bonnaterre, 1788, Tableau Encyclopédique et Méthodique, Ichthyologie:139 (Sardinia).
    Diagnostic Features
    A large species, deepest at a more posterior point than in other tunas (at, or only slightly anterior to, second dorsal fin rather than near middle of first dorsal fin base).  Gillrakers 25 to 31 on first arch.  Second dorsal fin clearly lower than first dorsal; pectoral fins remarkably long, usually 30% of fork length or longer in 50 cm or longer fish, reaching well beyond origin of second dorsal fin (usually up to second dorsal finlet). Fish smaller than 50 cm will have proportionately smaller pectorals than other tunas, i.e. Thunnus obesus .  Ventral surface of liver striated (vascular network). Swim bladder present, but poorly developed and not evident in fish smaller than about 50 cm fork length.  Vertebrae 18 precaudal plus 21 caudal.  Colour: a faint lateral iridescent blue band runs along sides in live fish; first dorsal fin deep yellow, second dorsal and anal fins light yellow, anal finlets dark; posterior margin of caudal fin white. 
    Geographical Distribution
    Cosmopolitan in tropical and temperate waters of all oceans including the Mediterranean Sea extending north to 45° to 50° N and south to 30° to 40° S, but not at the surface between 10° N and 10° S.
    Habitat and Biology
    An epi- and mesopelagic, oceanic species,abundant in surface waters of 15.6° to 19.4° C; deeper swimming large albacore are found in waters of 13.5° to 25.2° C; temperatures as low as 9.5° C may be tolerated for short periods. In the Atlantic, the larger size classes (80 to 125 cm) are associated with cooler water bodies, while smaller individuals tend to occur in warmer strata. According to data piesently the opposite occurs in the northeastern Pacific. Albacore tend to concentrate along thermal discontinuities (oceanic fronts such as the Transition Zone in the north Pacific and the Kuroshio Front east of Japan) where large catches are made. The Transition Zones are preferred to cooler upwelling waters which are richer in forage organisms but poorer in oxygen content. Minimun oxygen requirements are probably similar to those of yellowfin tuna, that is about 2 ml/l. Albacore migrate within water masses rather than across temperature and oxygen boundaries.  Throughout its range, the albacore migrates over great distances and appears to form separate groups at different stages of its life cycle. Several diverging, sometimes contradictory models have been suggested to portray these migrations. At least two stocks (northern and southern) are believed to exist in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, each with distinct spawning areas and seasons and with little or no interchange across the warm equatorial waters.The depth distribution in the Pacific ranges from the surface down to at least 380 m and is governed by the vertical thermal structures and oxygen contents of the water masses. In the Atlantic, for the same environmental determinants, albacore are believed to occur as deep as 600 m.Like other tunas, albacore, form schools with fewer fish, hence more compact units when composed of larger fish. They may also form mixed schools with skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna and bluefin tuna. Schools may be associated with floating objects, including sargassum weeds.
    Although fecundity does increase with size generally, there is no close relationship between fork length and ovary-weight and hence, number of eggs; a 20 kg female may produce between 2 and 3 million eggs per season, which are released at least in two batches. The sex ratio in catches is about 1:1 for immature specimens, but males predominate among mature fishes, which is possibly due to both differential mortality of sexes, and differential growth rate after maturity. 
    Maximum fork length is 127 em. The all-tackle angling record is a 40 kg fish with a fork length of 123 em taken in the Canary Islands in 1977. In the Pacific surface fishery (pole-and-line, and troll fishery), smaller sizes (modes between 55 to 80 cm fork length) predominate, while longline fisheries take bigger fish (modes about 95 to 115 cm); in the Indian Ocean, common sizes range from 40 to 100 cm fork length (Silas & Pillai, 1982), while males up to 109 cm and females up to 106 cm are not exceptional in the Atlantic. In the Pacific, maturity may be attained at about 90 cm fork length in females and at about 97 cm in males; in the Atlantic it is reached at about 94 cm in both sexes.
    Interest to Fisheries
    There are important fisheries for T. alalunga in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Catches have been reported from 15 FAO Fishing Areas by 15 countries in the period from 1974 to 1981. Along with increasing effort in the major fisheries, the world catch has been gradually declining from a peak of about 245 000 t in 1974 to a low of about 181 000 t in 1981 (FAO, 1981, 1983). More than half of the catch in the last years was taken in the Pacific, particularly in Fishing Areas 61, 77 and 81. The landings in Area 61 were almost exclusively made by Japanese vessels. More than 10 000 metric tons were reported in 1981 from two other fishing areas, namely Areas 27 (predominantly by Spain, while the French catch collapsed to less than one tenth of its previous level) and 47 (FAO, 1983). Albacore fisheries involve 4 basic types of fishing operations: longlining, live-bait fishing, trolling, and purse seining. Surface methods (trolling, purse-seining, live-bait) tend to take smaller fish than longlining. In recent years, boats and gear have been improved by introduction of longer vessels (trollers up to 22 m length), more modern boatbuilding materials (fiberglass, aluminium, etc.), larger ice storage or brine freezing capacities, better navigational aids and fish locating devices, and larger bait-holding capacities that increase the autonomy of the vessels. The most important albacore fisheries are the following:  [more...]

    Local Names
    ANGOLA : Avoador .
    ARGENTINA : Albacora .
    BRAZIL : Albacora branca .
    CANADA : Albacore ,  Germon atlantique .
    CHILE : Atún de aleta larga .
    COLOMBIA : Albacora .
    CUBA : Albacora .
    ECUADOR : Atún .
    EGYPT : Tunna .
    GERMANY : Weisser Thun .
    GREECE : Tonnos macropteros .
    ISRAEL : Garmon .
    ITALY : Alalonga .
    JAPAN : Binnaga ,  Tonbo .
    KENYA : Jodari (Swahili).
    KOREA REP : Nal-gae-da-raeng-i .
    MALTA : Ala-longa .
    MARTINIQUE : Germon .
    MEXICO : Albacora .
    MONACO : Ara-lunga .
    MOROCCO : Germon ,  Thone .
    NEW ZEALAND : Albacore tuna .
    PANAMA : Albacora .
    PERU : Albacora ,  Alalunga ,  Atún de aleta larga .
    POLAND : Germon .
    PORTUGAL : Albacora ,  Voador .
    PUERTO RICO : Albacora .
    ROMANIA : Ton cu inotatoare lungi .
    SENEGAL : Bonette .
    SOMALIA : Jodari (Swahili).
    SOUTH AFRICA : Albacore ,  Albakoor ,  Langvin tuna ,  Longfin tunny .
    SPAIN : Albacora ,  Atún blanco .
    SWEDEN : Albakore .
    TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA : Chang chi we .
    TANZANIA : Jodari (Swahili).
    TUNISIA : Ghzel .
    TURKEY : Yazili orkinos .
    UK : Albacore .
    URUGUAY : Albacora .
    USA : Albacore ,  Ahipahala (Hawaii).
    former USSR: : Albakor ,  Belokrylyj tunets ,  Belyj tunets ,  Dlinnoperyj tunets .
    VENEZULEA : Albacora .
    VIET NAM : Cá ngir vay dài .
    YUGOSLAVIA : Silac .
    Note that the vernacular name "albacora" is used for swordfish (Xiphias gladius ) in Chile, while it is commonly used for T. alalunga in other Spanish speaking countries, while in the eastern Atlantic "albacore" is used by francophones for the yellowfin tuna (T. albacares ).
    Source of Information
    FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 2. Scombrids of the world. An annotated and illustrated catalogue of Tunas, Mackerels, Bonitos and related species known to date.Collette, B.B. & C.E. Nauen. 1983. FAO Fish. Synop., (125)Vol.2:137 p. 
    Fischer, ed., 1973, (Species Identification Sheets, Mediterranean and Black Sea)
    Bard, 1981 (Ph.D.thesis)
    Colette, 1981 (Species Identification Sheets, Eastern Central Atlantic)
    Collette, 1978 (Species Identification Sheets, Western Central Atlantic)
    Dotson, 1980 (describes methods and gear for northeast Pacific fleets)
    Fischer & Whitehead , 1974 eds (Species Identification Sheets, Eastern Indian Ocean/Western Central Pacific)
    Foreman, 1980 (summarizes i.e. growth parameter estimates)
    Le Gall, 1974
    Le Gall, 1981 (bibliography)
    Postel, 1963b
    Yoshida & Otsu, 1963
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