Yellowfin Tuna

Yellowfin Tuna
Common Name Yellowfin Tuna
Market Name ahi
Scientific name Thunnus albacares

Sourcing Summary

Size

<100 lbs.

Yellowfin tuna is available fresh, frozen, and canned. Canned yellowfin tuna is marketd as "light" tuna and is slightly darker than albacore. While yellowfin tuna quality is difficult to determine due to subjective criteria, number 2 quality is usually adequate for the U.S. market while Number 1 quality is primarily exported to Japan. Fresh and frozen yellowfin is sold to foodservice operators as loins and steaks. Early fall is a good time to buy fresh yellowfin tuna, as demand drops and landings are normally still quite good.

Frozen yellowfin is commonly treated with carbon monoxide or tasteless smoke to prevent the red color of the fish from going brown. If abused, carbon monoxide can be used to enhance the color of lower grade yellowfin. However, fresh yellowfin loins and steaks are rarely treated with carbon monoxide to maintain color. Additionally, the quality of pole and handline-caught yellowfin can suffer because the fish can "burn" themselves when they struggle as they are landed and will result in the fish having a very short shelf life.

Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Chunks
H&G
Loins
Portions
Steaks
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
H&G
Loins
Portions
Steaks

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
nononononoyesyesyesyesnonono

Culinary Composition

Mild

Flavor

Firm

Texture

Cooking Methods

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 108
Total Fat 1g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 37mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 23g
Omega-3 0.2g

Science & Management

Wild
Harvest Methods

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Impact on Stock

Yellowfin tuna is widely distributed throughout tropical and subtropical oceans. They are highly fecund with a moderate lifespan, making them fairly resistant to fishing pressure. A Seafood Watch report from 2014 stated that there is uncertainty about yellowfin tuna populations in the Atlantic as well as some indication that they are overfished and unsustainably fished. Seafood Watch also reported that yellowfin tuna are overfished in the eastern Pacific Ocean but healthy in the western and central Pacific. In the Indian Ocean, yellowfin populations are healthy and fishing mortality rates are low.

Habitat impacts (Wild)

Yellowfin tuna are caught in fisheries that target other tuna species. Slightly more than half of all tuna landed worldwide, including yellowfin, is caught with purse seines that have minimal impacts on ocean habitats. However, anchored fish aggregating devices (FADs) could result in contact. The pelagic longlines, trolls and poles used to catch yellowfin tuna also present a low risk to the seabed and bottom habitats, according to Seafood Watch.

Bycatch

With the exception of the troll, pole and handline fisheries, bycatch in yellowfin fisheries is high. Unintended catch includes threatened and endangered marine mammals. Dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, other tuna, marlin, manta rays, wahoo, stingrays and juvenile tunas are among the bycatch, which is increased with the use of fish aggregating devices (FADs). Longline tuna vessels in the Atlantic are required to collect and report bycatch and discard information. They must have equipment for the safe handling, disentanglement and release of sea turtles, and the captain must be trained on correct techniques. 

Starting in 2013, countries in the Atlantic that have not reported shortfin mako shark catch data are prohibited from catching them, according to a 2014 Seafood Watch report. Although fishermen back down purse seine nets for dolphins to escape in the eastern Pacific, the animals can still die from net canopy collapses and stress. The deaths are declining but dolphin populations haven’t yet recovered.

Management effectiveness

Yellowfin are managed by several fishery management organizations worldwide. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) manages them in the Atlantic. ICCAT’s tuna conservation and management program was amended in 2011 to include yellowfin but recovery plans have not been in place long enough to judge their success. Seafood Watch rated the Commission’s bycatch strategy “ineffective” because it doesn’t meet best practices. In addition, there are no bycatch cap or catch limits.

Yellowfin tuna are managed in the U.S. and Canadian longline fisheries by the National Marine Fisheries Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. While Seafood Watch rated most of the management strategies as moderately effective, the bycatch strategy was called ineffective in the Canadian North Atlantic longline fishery because it does not require best practices for reducing incidental shark capture. Observer coverage was also lacking.

In the Pacific, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) and the state of Hawaii all manage tuna. Management measures in the western and central Pacific Ocean longline fishery, including ones mitigating bycatch, were rated moderately to highly effective in a 2014 Seafood Watch report. However, management in the eastern Pacific longline fishery did not meet best practice requirements and scientific advice was not always followed, according to a separate report.

Seafood Watch rated the management in the western, central and north Pacific yellowfin purse seine fishery between ineffective and moderately effective. The WCPFC lacks limits on the number of FAD sets allowed annually.

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and the Sri Lankan Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences manage tuna in those regions. The management was given a red score by Seafood Watch due to a lack of measures to improve monitoring, a lack of total allowable catch, lack of bycatch data as well as poor bycatch mitigation. Seafood Watch also pointed to IUU fishing issues in the Indian Ocean.

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Fishing Methods  
Atlantic Ocean Purse Seine - Floating Object  
Atlantic Ocean Purse Seine - Unassociated  
Atlantic Ocean Troll/Pole  
Atlantic Ocean - North Longline  
Atlantic Ocean - South Longline  
Indian Ocean Pelagic Longline  
Indian Ocean Purse Seine - Floating Object  
Indian Ocean Purse Seine - Unassociated  
Indian Ocean Troll/Pole  
Indian Ocean Handline  
Indian Ocean - Sri Lanka Pelagic Longline  
North Atlantic - Canada Longline  
Pacific Ocean - East Longline  
Pacific Ocean - East Purse Seine - Dolphin Set  
Pacific Ocean - East Purse Seine - Floating Object  
Pacific Ocean - East Purse Seine - Unassociated  
Pacific Ocean - East Troll/Pole  
Pacific Ocean - West Central Troll/Pole  
Pacific Ocean - West Central Longline  
Pacific Ocean - West Central Purse Seine - Floating Object  
Pacific Ocean - West Central Purse Seine - Unassociated  
USA - Atlantic Pelagic Longline  
USA - Gulf of Mexico Pelagic Longline  
USA - Hawaii (Eastern Central Pacific) Deep-Set Longline  
USA - Hawaii (Western Central Pacific) Deep-Set Longline  
USA - North Atlantic Greenstick  
Name Country State / Province
7 Seas Fish Co., Ltd. Canada British Columbia
Albion Farms & Fisheries Canada British Columbia
Anderson Seafoods Inc. United States California
Anova Food, LLC United States Florida
Blue Circle Foods United States District of Columbia
Boston Sword and Tuna United States Massachusetts
C2C Premium Seafood Canada British Columbia
Catalina Offshore Products United States California
Catanese Classic Seafood United States Ohio
Caudle's Catch Seafood Canada Ontario
Centennial Foodservice Canada Alberta
Channel Seafoods International United States Florida
Cherry Point Seafoods United States South Carolina
City Fish Canada Alberta
Clipper Ship, Inc. United States Washington
Codfathers Seafood Market Canada British Columbia
Daily Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Dock-to-Dish United States New York
Empire Fish Company United States Wisconsin
En Gros Pierre Canada Quebec
Ensis Fisheries Pvt. Limited Maldives MAA
Euclid Fish Company United States Ohio
Export Packers Company Limited Canada Ontario
Fisherman's Market International Inc. Canada Nova Scotia
Fresh Island Fish, Inc. United States Hawaii
Garden & Valley Isle Seafood, Inc. United States Hawaii
Global Food Networking Inc. United States Virginia
Harbor Pride Seafood United States California
Hilo Fish Company, Inc. United States Hawaii
HIROAD Food LLC United States Texas
IFC Seafood Inc. United States Maine
Imperial Seafood and Shellfish Inc. United States Ohio
IncredibleFish, Inc. United States Florida
IndiSea International LLC United States Florida
Itsumo Foods Canada Ontario
Lee Fish USA United States California
Legend Seafood United States Florida
Lotus Seafood Inc. United States California
Lusamerica Foods, Inc. United States California
Maine Shellfish Company United States Maine
Marineca Pvt. Ltd. Maldives
Marinex SA Switzerland
Meliomar, Inc. Philippines
Moalia Spain Murcia
Norpac Fisheries Export United States Hawaii
North Atlantic Inc. United States Maine
Northeast Seafood Products, Inc. United States Colorado
Orca Bay Seafoods, Inc. United States Washington
Pacific Fresh Fish Ltd. Canada Saskatchewan
Pacific Harvest Seafoods United States California
Pisces Impex Ltd. Canada Ontario
Precious Cargo Seafood Company United States Oregon
Pucci Foods United States California
Red's Best United States Massachusetts
Sam Rust Seafood United States Virginia
Sammy's Seafood Inc United States Florida
Sarasota Seafood Company United States Florida
Sea Delight, LLC. United States Florida
Sea Forager Seafood United States California
Sea to Table, USA United States New York
Seacore Seafood Inc. Canada Ontario
Seafood Imports Inc. United States California
Seafood Merchants Ltd. United States Illinois
Seattle Fish Company United States Colorado
Stavis Seafoods United States Massachusetts
Thalassa Seafoods Belgium
The Fish Guys Inc. United States Minnesota
The Fishin' Company United States Pennsylvania
The Lone Star Fishing Company United States Texas
The Tuna Store LLC United States Washington
Tradex Foods Inc. Canada British Columbia
Triar Seafood Company United States Florida
Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics United States Washington
Wild Fish Direct LLC United States Florida
Wild Local Seafood Co. United States California
Wild Planet Foods, Inc. United States California
Wixter Market United States Illinois