The albacore (Thunnus alalunga), known also as the longfin tuna, is a species of tuna of the order Perciformes. It is found in temperate and tropical waters across the globe in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones. There are six distinct stocks known globally in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The albacore has an elongate, fusiform body with a conical snout, large eyes, and remarkably long pectoral fins. Its body is a deep blue dorsally and shades of silvery white ventrally. Individuals can reach up to 1.4 m (4.6 ft) in length.
Albacore are pelagic predators that eat a variety of foods, including fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods. They are unique among tuna in that their primary food source is cephalopods, with fish making up a much smaller portion of their diet. Reproduction usually occurs from November to February and is oviparous. An adult female can release over 2 million eggs in a single cycle. Fry generally stay near where they were spawned for about a year before moving on. Albacore form schools based on their stage in the life cycle, but also combine with other tuna like the skipjack tuna, yellowfin tuna, and bluefin tuna. Once grown, schools are highly migratory.
The albacore is a very economically important fish and is a target of commercial and recreational fisheries. It was originally the basis for the United States tuna-canning industry and is no less important today, making up significant percentages of the gross domestic products of various Pacific nations. It is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of the threat of overfishing. Several stocks are in significant decline and the species’ overall population trend is decreasing.