Average Weight/Length

Usually 10-50 pounds; sometimes exceeds 80. World record 88 pounds, 2 ounces.

Family, Genus, Class & Etymology

Family    Scombridae
Description    Mackerels, tunas, bonitos
Environment    Brackish & Marine
Etymology    Latin, scomber = mackerel.
Genus    15
No. of Species    54
Order    Perciformes
Class    Actinopterygii
Reproductive Guild    Nonguarders
Distribution    Tropical and subtropical seas. Body elongate and fusiform, moderately compressed in some genera. Snout pointed, premaxilla beaklike, free from nasal bones which are separated by the ethmoid bone; mouth large; teeth in jaws strong, moderate, or weak; no true canines; palate and tongue may bear teeth. The 2 dorsal fins separate and depressible into grooves with 5-12 finlets behind second dorsal and anal fins; first dorsal fin with 9-27 rays, origin well behind the head. Pectoral fins high on body. Pelvic fins moderate or small with 6 fin rays, placed below the pectoral fins. Caudal fin deeply forked with supporting caudal rays completely covering hypural plate. At least 2 small keels on each side of caudal fin base, a larger keel in between on caudal peduncle in more advanced species. Lateral line simple. Vertebrae 31-66. Body covered with small to moderate scales or a scaly corselet developed (area behind head and around pectoral fins covered with large thick scales) and rest of body naked or covered with tiny scales. Gill membranes not united to isthmus. Thunnus and close relatives with a specialized vascular system for heat exchange; the evolution of this and related adaptations for endothermy are discussed in Block et al. 1993 (Ref. 11221). Primarily swift, epipelagic predators; some species occur in coastal waters, others far from shore. Mackerels (Scomber and Rastrelliger) filter plankton with their long gill rakers. Spanish mackerels, bonitos and tunas feed on larger prey, including small fishes, crustaceans and squids. The main predators of smaller scombrids are other predacious fishes, particularly large tunas and billfises. Dioecious and most display little or no sexual dimorphism in structure or color pattern. Females of many species attain larger sizes than maels. Batch spawning of most species takes place in tropical and subtropical waters, frequently inshore. Eggs are pelagic and hatch into planktonic larvae. Among the most important of commercial and sport fishes. [Thunninae=ISSCAAP 36; Scombrinae=ISSCAAP 37]. Also Ref. 50681. According to the recent phylogenies (Ref. 58009), two subfamilies can be recognized: - Gasterochismatinae with one species Gasterochisma melampus. - Scombrinae: divided currently in four tribes (Ref. 58010), only Scombrini are supported by molecular data; more research is needed for Scomberomorini, Sardini, and Thunnini.

Other "Popular" Names for this Fish

Tombo, Longfin Tuna, Germon (French), Weisser Thun (German), Tonno Bianco/ Alalonga (Italian), Atun Blanco (Spanish), Bincho/ Binnaga (Japanese)

Location Habitat

The open sea. An epipelagic 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. Known to concentrate along thermal discontinuities. Form mixed schools with skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) and bluefin tuna (T. maccoyii), schools may be associated with floating objects, including sargassum weeds. Feed on fishes, crustaceans and squids. Eggs and larvae are pelagic (Ref. 6769). Sexual maturity reached at 90 c. Highly appreciated and marketed fresh, smoked, deep frozen or canned. Eaten steamed, broiled, fried and microwaved. Angling: Largely caught offshore, where the waters are mild and blue. Albacore favor those areas where cooler water interfaces with warmer water. They are caught with live of dead baitfish such as mullet, sauries, squid, herring, anchovies, sardines, and other small fish. Albacore strike hard and make powerful runs

Biology & Physical Description

The easiest Tuna to identify because of its extra-long pectoral fins, and because the trailing edge of the tail is white. Unfortunately, these indicators are seldom put to use in this area, where the Albacore is the rarest Tuna. Dorsal spines (total): 11 - 14; Dorsal soft rays (total): 12-16; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 11 - 16. Anterior spines much higher than posterior spines giving the fin a strongly concave outline. Interpelvic process small and bifid. Body with very small scales. Pectoral fins remarkably long, about 30% of fork length or longer in 50 cm or longer fish. Ventral surface of liver striated and the central lobe is largest.

Life Cycle & Mating Behavior

The sex ratio in catches is about 1:1 for immature individuals, but males predominate among mature fishes, which is possibly due to both differential mortality of sexes and differential growth rate after maturity.

Geographic Species Map ( Map)

Summary of Distribution: Cosmopolitan in tropical and temperate waters of all oceans including the Mediterranean Sea but not at the surface between 10°N and 10°S. Western Pacific: range extend in a broad band between 40°N and 40°S. Often confused with juvenile Thunnus obesus which also have very long pectorals but with rounded tips. Highly migratory species,

Note: Distribution range colors indicate degree of suitability of habitat which can be interpreted as probabilities of occurrence (

Sport Fishing Techniques


A trolling boat has multiple outriggers, poles and lines attached that use lures dragged across the ocean surface at speeds of 4 – 10 knots. Large beefy hooks are used with special durable lures allowing the fisherman to easily unhook the gamefish that has been caught and quickly get their lines back into the water. The larger the lures, the larger the potential fish, the larger the hooks. A tuna boat will usually make slow wide circles when trolling. A billfish boat will usually work ledges, fathom lines, zig zag area coordinates or make trolling circles if bait or a porpoise school is located and/or if they are fishing a FAD..


Drift fishing allows you to fish over a variety of habitats as your boat drifts with the currents or wind movement. You can drift fish on the bottom or change the depth with a bobber or float. Natural baits work best. But jigs, lures and artificial flies will produce good results, too. You can drift fish on the ocean, as well as ponds, lakes, rivers and streams any time of the day and year..

Commercial Fishing Techniques

Pelagic Longline

This fishery uses a longline to catch a variety of pelagic fish on the high seas such as tuna and swordfish. A deep-set longline is used to primarily target tuna and a shallow-set longline is used to target swordfish or mixed species including bigeye, Albacore and yellowfin tuna. Baited hooks are attached to a line that floats in the ocean using buoys and flagpoles.

Tackle & Baits

Light classes of ocean tackle, plus spinning and baitcasting outfits. For trolling, choose small offshore lures, feathers, spoons, small rigged baits such as Ballyhoo and strips. Deep-diving plugs are also good. Albacores also can be chummed with live Pilchards or similar small baitfish, and fished for with the same bait, or by casting. Best hard lures are white jigs, tied with bucktail or feathers to provide a larger profile. Flies should be similarly tied - to imitate size and color of the live chum.

Game Rating

Game Rating : 8/10

Game Description :

An outstanding battler, even among the hard-fighting Tuna clan.

Food Rating

Game Rating : 8/10

Game Description :

While smaller in size than ahi, the albacore tuna we catch in Hawaii are still larger in comparison to those caught off the west coast.  The flesh is usually light in color and mild in flavor.  Depending on the time of year and where the fleet if fishing, Hawaiian Seafoofd offers Tombo in two grades: Pink tombo, which is higher in fat and oil and white Tombo, which is lighter.  We can assure you that our Tombo will make an excellent sashimi offering and is fully up for whatever preparations you may have in mind. Tombo ahi has flesh that varies from whitish-pink in smaller fish to deep pink in larger fish. Larger tombo ahi have a greater fat content than smaller fish, and this is a desirable attribute for raw fish products, as well as for broiling. As raw fish, tombo is softer than other ahi or aku and, hence, more difficult to slice into sashimi. Restaurants usually grill tombo ahi, but other cooking methods will work as well. Tombo has a tendency to dry out quickly when cooked, so it is important to avoid overcooking.

Picture (Fish)

Picture Mount