Ocean FAD Articles > Albacore Tuna Stock Assessment 2011

OceanFAD Albacore Tuna Stock Assessment Proves Not Healthy in 2011
1 Sep 2011


Ocean FAD's board heard of the Ocean Joy's 1st voyage of the 2011 season,
Noting that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) had not come out with an Albacore Stock assessment and was overdue do to Japan's misfortune,
It was agreed upon, by the directors, to take OFAD's report to the commission meeting and make sure that all involved with albacore, in the North Pacific, understood what is actually taking place "on the fishing grounds".
Vice President Bud Harder was to take the liberty of registering with the Northern Committee, as Captain John-boy made another voyage aboard Ocean Joy.
In the meantime, an alternate Captain will need to replace John for the fishing trip scheduled in September.
Ocean FAD's 2nd Tuna Trip, 2011 aboard f/v Ocean Joy
July 28th - Ocean Joy left Westport, WA. for fishing. No fishing effort was made.
July 29th - 46:28%N X 125:12%W. Ocean Joy moved South. Seas are calm & SST 63%
67 Albacore Tuna kept, "0" by catch, as always, and no net marked fish.
July 30th - 46:00%N X 125:45%W. Moderate wx. with SST cooling to 62.8%. Heading South.
71 albacore caught, none net marked.
July 31st - 44:12%N X 126:00%W, wx. has been kind. SST jumped up to 63.3% and rising.
110 fish landed. 2 albacore with driftnet marks found. Fish averaged 20 lbs. Pictures were taken.
August 1st - Still descending to 43:30%N X 126:00%W. with calm weather. SST still 63.3
211 fish were landed. 7 large albacore tuna had marks from driftnets. Pictures taken.
August 2nd - In the same area. Wx. still calm. SST up to 64.3%
331 fish landed. 5 large Albacore Tuna marked by nets. We had a good day. Best day yet.
August 3rd - In the same area. Wx & SST remains the same, but we got totally over run by Canadian vessels. It was as if they were targeting us. Every time we caught a fish, 2-3 boats would turn towards the spot. There are a lot of hungry, starving and aggressive fishermen around us. There are more boats than fish to catch!
161 tuna fish caught, 3 tuna marked by driftnets.
August 4th - In the same congested area. SST warmed up to 65.1% and wx was good.
175 albacore caught with 0 discards as usual (we keep everything that comes aboard). 1 net marked fish.
August 5th - In the same area, but moving towards the west. SST 63.6%
117 albacore tuna caught, no fish with net marks.
August 6th - Ocean Joy heading West. Pos. 43:30%N X 128:20%W. Word of Tuna Trollers, from "off shore" catching 300 fish a day, for the last few days, encouraged us to run west threw the night. We plan to be moving west for the next week. Too many boats group up to be un-productive. There is still no new body of fish moving in to the coastal waters. The 15-17 lbs. class of fish are still missing. This is a very unhealthy sign!
25 fish landed, with no scared fish from nets.
August 7th - Still travelling west. Pos. 43:30%N X 132:00%W. calm wx. with SST 62.2%
17 fish landed. No marked fish noted.
August 8th - Pos. 43:12%N X 133:00%W with calm wx & SST at 61.6%, Ocean Joy turned around and heading back east towards the coast. The fishing "off shore" sounds spotty and show signs of migrating east. More sign popping up further to the west around 150:00%W, but our group not prepared to travel the distance.
There is some issues as to being registered with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to fish west of the 150%W line. We are not registered and would need VMS on board and activated. This was a hindrance at the time.
24 fish caught, with none marked by nets.
August 9th - Pos. 42:45%N X 130:00%W. heading east with calm weather & SST of 61.7%
27 fish landed on deck. none marked by drift nets.
August 10th - Pos. 42:30 X 126:50%W our SST shot up to 63.4%. Weather still calm. Good sign of fish and no boats to compete with.
228 fish caught, 2 fish with net marks. These fish average 13 lbs and the scratches appear to be fresh. This is the first of the smaller (school fish) fish to show driftnet marks. We took pictures.
August 11th - In the same area. SST up to 63.9% Only a few boats in the area, so far.
176 fish taken. 3 fish marked by nets.
August 12th - Same spot, wx. still calm.
175 fish caught, no fish found with net marks.
August 13th - Still in the same area. Our group was doing a good job keeping quiet about our spot.
Reports from old congested spots say large schools are being seen, but not being caught is strong evidence supporting our fisheries sustainability. Fish do not feed all the time. Just like a fly ( in memory of Mr. Bill "The Fly"-Gibbons) that was once swatted is hard to kill, so is the tuna once educated of the "jigs" is hard to catch. Unlike a driftnet that is sure to catch the fish as long as it swims. Albacore must continue to swim to survive, or with a driftnet, destined to die.
231 fish landed, none with net marks.
August 14th - In the same area. SST rising to 65.2%.
239 fish caught. 3 fish scratched by nets
August 15th - In the same general area with SST up to 66.4%
119 fish captured and put on board. None scratched by drift nets.
August 16th - Still in the same area, but more boats starting to crowd us. Same old song. We are fortunate that the Canadian fleet is still unaware of our spot. No offence to the Canadians, but they are too aggressive for the amount of fish in the area. Our production has dropped.
85 fish landed with no net marked fish.
August 17th - In the same general area. Wx kicking up with big seas. SST still at 66.0%
305 fish made it on board. no fish noted for net marks.
August 18th - Trying to stay in the same area. Wx. not good. SST cooled to 65.4%
115 albacore taken. No fish with net marks.
August 19th - Ocean Joy dropped to the South to 42:00N X 126:30W. Sea conditions still rough. SST dropped from 65% to 63.9%. Nice strong edge.
319 albacore taken. No by catch & no discards as usual! No drift net marked fish.
August 20th - In the same area, but boats piled up in one spot and hard to work. Fishing dropped off.
188 fish taken average weight to be 13 lbs. no net marked fish.
August 21st - Still in the same area with more company to share the spot. Since we are not likely to catch our ton a day, we will move off to the south once again. I only whish that everyone was doing as well as we have for the last 10 days. We have been very lucky compared to other vessels. Our average daily catch is 2 times higher than most boats. We feel fortunate!
78 fish landed with no net marked fish.
August 22nd - New pos. of 40:50%N X 126:30%W. Wx. has moderated and the SST has dropped to 62.7%. As we are alone again, with no other boats to compete with, our score reflects our effort.
261 fish taken. 4) 13 lb albacore school fish marked by nets. Pictures taken.
August 23rd - In the same area with moderate wx. Only a few boats to keep us company.
247 fish landed with 7 net marked fish, averaging 13 lbs. Took pictures.
August 24th - All conditions remain the same with a few more vessels looking the area over.
214 fish landed with none indicating marks from drift nets.
August 25th - In the same area with moderate wx. and strong currents, our SST moved to 63.9%.
436 fish had landed with over 14 fish baring driftnet scratches.
These scratched albacore tuna are of the younger, (12 - 14 lb.) class. The markings are light and strait, as if they were too small for the size of mesh used. Unlike the marked fish to the north in the 44:30%N area where the few fish detected, with older scares, were of the older (18 - 20 lb.) class of fish.
Which brings us to the question of, "Where are the (15 -17 lb.) Albacore Tuna?"
Trollers often favor this "teenager" class of fish because they are not too heavy to pull and they follow & bite well!
Unfortunately for us, the driftnet fleet target  this age class too.
It is apparent that this age class is missing at this point. This is not healthy stocks of albacore tuna.
August 26th - In the same area, some eighty miles west of Eureka California. SST up to 64.1%.
108 fish landed, with 6 fish, avg. 13 lbs, marked by nets.
August 27th - f/v "Ocean Joy" traveled threw the night towards Eureka California where she changed crew. Co-Captain Gary Waldon came onboard as we said good by to my son, Chief Dylan Harder, who had to go back to school. We did maintenance on machinery, gathered some fresh groceries and supplies, and headed back to sea.
August 28th - Ocean Joy returned to her position of 40:40%N X 12:30%W where we did so well earlier. The two Captains spent much time swapping information regarding the intricacies of our vessel Ocean Joy.
132 fish captured with 3 albacore scratched by nets.
August 29th - In the same area with SST being 63.0%. Wx. is 15 knots of chop.
174 albacore tuna fish caught. 2 net marked fish.
August 30th - F/V OCEAN JOY is now moving towards Coos Bay Org. Wx. is starting to come up and this is not a good place to be in a blow (storm). Pos. 41:50%N X 126:20%W. SST 64.8%.
48 tuna caught. None marked by nets.
August 31st - F/V OCEAN JOY Entered Coos Bay Org. and unloaded in the port of Charleston.
We landed 60,000 lbs (30 ton) and was said was the biggest trip landed, in the port, all year.
We were truly blessed! We had achieved our minimal sustainable amount average of "1 ton per day".
Not too many can say the same.
The trip is over & Captain Gary Waldon will be preparing to take the "Ocean Joy" for her next voyage.
I, Captain John-boy, have a plane to catch that will take me to Sapporo, Japan. I have sent this log book to NMFS and stated that it will be presented to the Northern Committee's Seventh Regular Session & the WCPFC- TCC7 in Ponepei in September. From what I understand, the results of the NMFS albacore tuna stock assessment has not been revealed.
I hope and pray, now on my way.
GOD is truly great! 

Captain John Harder