Tuna Group Page

Known for its mild, rich taste and steak-like texture, tuna species cover quite a range with albacore, bigeye, skipjack, yellowfin, and bluefin.

Atlantic albacore tuna

albacore tuna

Albacore has a mild taste and a firm, steaky texture, with large, moist flakes, however it is not as firm as yellowfin or bluefin, so it’s not well-suited for raw preparation or "sashimi." In the North Atlantic, the United States commercial fisheries catch less than 2 percent of the total international catch, but nonetheless, the U.S. actively participates in conservation and management of this resource and fishery.

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Pacific albacore tuna

albacore tuna

Most of the albacore harvested in United States comes from the Pacific, mainly Oregon, Washington, American Samoa, and Hawaii. Albacore is caught with troll, or pole-and-line, and longline gear - troll and pole-and-line gear have little bycatch, and U.S. longline fishermen follow a number of measures to limit and prevent bycatch.

Atlantic bigeye tuna

bigeye tuna

Through international cooperation to limit catch and protect undersized bigeye, the Atlantic bigeye tuna stock is increasing in size and approaching sustainable levels. U.S. commercial fishermen harvest less than 1 percent of Atlantic bigeye tuna caught worldwide.

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Pacific bigeye tuna

bigeye tuna

Almost all the U.S. commercial harvest of bigeye tuna comes from the Pacific. About half is caught incidentally by the purse seine fishery targeting skipjack throughout the tropical eastern Pacific; along with skipjack and yellowfin, this fish is canned as “light” tuna. The Hawaii longline fishery harvests the other half. A small amount of the fresh catch is exported; the remaining supply is sold in U.S. markets. Both fisheries operate under strict domestic and international measures to control global bigeye harvests.

Atlantic bluefin tuna

Atlantic bluefin tuna

Fisheries for western Atlantic bluefin tuna are highly regulated. Catch limits are set based on scientific advice, and the most recent limits set for 2012 are expected to support continued growth and recovery of the bluefin tuna stocks, as long as member nations comply with these limits. Strict measures are in place to ensure compliance - on the water, in port, and at the marketplace.

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Pacific Bluefin Tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna are a commercially important species around the world, and due to increased fishing pressure over a number of years, bluefin tuna populations are currently overfished. Many nations harvest Pacific bluefin tuna and effective conservation and management of this resource and its fisheries requires strong international cooperation through the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission and the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission. U.S. fisheries generally harvest a small fraction of the total Pacific-wide bluefin harvest, and represent only a small percentage of the average annual landings from all fleets fishing in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

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Atlantic yellowfin tuna

yellowfin tuna

With its mild, meaty flavor, yellowfin tuna is the top tropical tuna harvested by U.S. fishermen in the Atlantic. Yellowfin is more flavorful than albacore, but leaner than bluefin. More than half of this catch comes from U.S. longline fisheries, which operate in the northwest Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean. Longlines are often negatively portrayed for their potential to unintentionally catch sea turtles, birds, and marine mammals. However, U.S. longline fishermen abide by a number of measures that reduce the fishery’s impacts on other species. Scientists and managers regularly monitor bycatch in the fishery and review data for appropriate action as necessary, ensuring U.S. fishermen continue to responsibly harvest yellowfin tuna.

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Pacific yellowfin tuna

yellowfin tuna

In both the eastern Pacific and western and central Pacific, yellowfin tuna stocks are above their target population levels. Fisheries operate under a number of international conservation measures to limit catch and fishing effort, and minimize the fisheries’ impacts to other species.

Pacific skipjack tuna

skipjack tuna

Almost all of the United States' commercial harvest of skipjack tuna comes from the western and central Pacific along both sides of the Equator. U.S. fishermen catch about 9 percent of the total skipjack harvest in the Pacific. Pacific skipjack tuna populations are abundant and harvested at sustainable levels. U.S. fishermen abide by a number of regulations to prevent bycatch of juvenile tunas, allowing them a chance to reproduce and replenish the population.

Atlantic skipjack tuna

skipjack tuna

Skipjack are primarily sold as “canned light tuna” and often packed along with yellowfin tuna. They are also sold fresh or frozen. Skipjack tuna isn’t a major focus of U.S. commercial tuna fisheries in the western Atlantic - annual skipjack harvests only make up about 1 percent of all of the Atlantic tunas brought to port by U.S. fishermen, and only a fraction of a percent of the Atlantic skipjack tuna harvested worldwide.

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