The albacore tuna is the choicest of the four kinds of tuna. Its light colored flesh and mild flavor is the reason it has been given the name “chicken of the sea”, and it is the only tuna that can be sold as white meat tuna in the United States. Also known as long fin tuna it can be distinguished by its long pointed tail, its metallic blue back and its silvery bottom. Found in the temperate waters off the shores of southern California, the albacore averages 10 to 60 pounds but has been known to reach 93 pounds and 5 feet in length. It has a rather chewy, layered meat with a mild flavor and a high fat content. After cooking it will have a light tan color and can be a little dry if over cooked.
Bluefin tuna can be found in most warm, temperate seas throughout the world and are abundant from Alaska to California on the west coast of the United States. Like the other varieties of tuna it is a very fast, strong swimmer and traveling in schools they inherit the name” wolves of the sea”. They have a dark green or blue colored back with a silver belly and yellowish tinges on its tail and average 15 to 80 pounds but have been known to top the scales at 1600 pounds and 14 feet in length. Also known as horse mackerel, the bluefin has a grayish or pinkish meat that is rich in flavor and a higher oil and fat content than the other varieties of tuna.
Found mostly tropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the skipjack is the smallest of the tunas averaging only 4 to 24 pounds but can reach 31 pounds. It has a dark metallic blue top with a silver sides and a light colored flesh that is rich in flavor and moderate in fat content.
Found in most warm waters, the yellowfin tuna is largely marketed as ahi tuna. It averages 30 to 150 pounds and has been known to grow to 256 pounds. It has a blue back with yellowish tinges on its sides and receives its name from its yellow tail and belly fins. It is also found under the names of atun or tunny and is very popular off the coast of southern California. The yellowfin has a light colored meat that is rich in flavor with a moderate fat content.