Albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, are built for speed. Svelte yet packed with muscle, these voracious predators can zoom to nearly 50 miles per hour, shooting through the water column like open-mouthed torpedoes after their prey. The deeply forked tail and blade-like pectoral fins—stretching to nearly half the fish’s entire length—further accentuate the albacore’s streamlined physique.
Albacore, like other tuna species, are homeothermic—their body temperature is regulated by networks of parallel-running arteries and veins. Warm arterial blood flows past the cooler venous blood, transferring heat and thereby keeping the tuna’s core temperature higher than that of the surrounding water. This trick ensures that tuna muscles remain warm and supple even at northerly latitudes, and while diving to depths of up to 1,300 feet.
Vast schools of albacore tuna migrate past the Oregon Coast each summer, motivating commercial and recreational fishing trollers to make their own migrations—over 50 miles offshore to find this important fishery. On average, Oregon’s commercial fleet lands close to 10 million pounds of albacore per year.
The locale of this action makes the spectacle inaccessible to most, but the Oregon Coast Aquarium will bring the tremendous world of albacore tuna to shore for Tuna Fishery Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 17.
Interactive displays will let visitors cast into the world of Oregon’s albacore tuna fishery, from the Bayfront’s docks to the Aquarium’s exhibits.
Guests will have an opportunity to explore this speedy fish’s adaptations, learn how to can tuna, discover how to fish for albacore, and sample albacore tuna served up by the Oregon Albacore Commission.
“Tuna Fishery Day connects guests with opportunities to explore sustainable tuna fisheries and generates excitement for sustainable seafood practices and conservation,” said McKenzie Purdom, Education Specialist. “Each of us can do our part to help create a healthier ocean by supporting our sustainable tuna fishery.”
The fishing practices of the Oregon albacore fleet are certified as well-managed and sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council and a “Best Choice” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The fish are hand-caught, one at a time using outriggers or fishing poles to ensure the tuna are extremely fresh, and to eliminate inadvertent catch of other types of fish.
Tuna Fishery Day activities are free with Aquarium admission and no advance registration is required. For more information visit aquarium.org or call 541-867-FISH.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is dedicated to the highest quality aquatic and marine science programs for recreation and education so that the public better understands, cherishes, and conserves the world’s natural marine and coastal resources. An accredited Association of Zoos & Aquariums institution, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization is ranked as one of the top 10 aquariums in the U.S. Visit us at 2820 S.E. Ferry Slip Rd., Newport, OR. www.aquarium.org, 541-867-3474. Follow us on Facebook.com/OregonCoastAquarium, or Twitter.com/OrCoastAquarium for the latest updates.