Albacore is best known as America’s highest-grade, “white meat” canned tuna. In fact, it’s the only tuna meat allowed to be labeled “white meat.” However, it has also developed a reputation out of the can in fresh and frozen markets. The albacore has a streamlined, torpedo-shaped body. It sports the blue and silver coloration of the other tunas but has longer pectoral fins. A schooling fish, albacore is caught in tropical and subtropical waters worldwide by trollers and longliners. In the Atlantic, albacore migrate as far north as the Bay of Biscay. Along the North American side of the Atlantic, they are sparse. In the Pacific fisheries, they exist off the West Coast and in the waters around Hawaii. The fish can range in size from 5 to 100 pounds, although the average market weight is between 10 and 30 pounds. High-grade “clipper” albacore loins, from which steaks can easily be taken, have been cut from freshly landed tuna and frozen onboard. Yield and quality are excellent. Tuna must be kept well chilled from the moment of harvest to prevent development of histamine, which can result in scromboid poisoning.
Images and data provided by SeafoodSource. To view the entire Seafood Handbook, visit SeafoodSource.com.