Ocean FAD Articles > NOAA, NMFS claim NO US “Pole and Line” vessels target North Pacific Albacore Tuna.

USA delegates enter false information regarding North Pacific Albacore catch and effort data.
20 Nov 2012

The Northern Committee (NC) to the Western and Central Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) made some drastic changes to the North Pacific Albacore Catch and Effort data submitted in 2011.





High annual catch averages were deleted by China and Vanuatu.

OFAD sent letter to US participants of the Northern Commitee:
To whom it may concern,
I must 1st apologize for not attending the NC8, as I was fishing. I could have provided helpful information sooner. I would like to make comments and recommendations to:
North Pacific Albacore Catch and Effort Data   Attachment D:
 Table 1: In United States entry, data pertains to the entire North Pacific is fine, but not appropriate
The 2006-2010 average annual catch for the Albacore Troll fishery is too high. This figure would more likely be around 4-5,000 tons, and not 12,344 as over 50% of US Albacore landed come from Pole and Line vessels.
Longline entered as not targeting Albacore and average catch of 288 tons seems ok.
Gillnet entered as not targeting Albacore and average catch of only 3 tons dose not look right. I know for a fact that a California swordfish driftnet vessel can catch 4-5 ton per trip. If 10 vessels are operating, that would add up to 400 ton( 10 trips).
For example Japan’s entry for Gill Net (GN) is 430 ton. This seems more likely.
It would not surprise me if this figure was around 500-1,000 tons depending on the number of vessels operating.
Pole and Line is entered as not targeting Albacore. This should be changed to  yes. The total average catch entered is 0. This should be changed also.
This figure would be around 7,344 to make up the difference from the Troll catch.
I’m sure the Pole and line vessels would not be pleased if left as it is.
Purse seine and “other” entries seem ok, assuming “other” is hand line and sport and charter boat landings, etc.
Table 2: Fishing effort for North Pacific Albacore (ALB)
 I 1st must say this is a great chart and whoever contributed to the makings, did a job well done. 
The 1st entry done by Canada is great, being that they made 2 entries.
The missing # for Canada’s 2002-2004 might be 4-5 vessels that I know of, and the number of days should be changed to 400 to show much more effort. Viking Spirit, Lea Dawn, Powerful Viking, to name a few.
It would be great if USA would do the same and make 2 entries. It may simplify things if each area was WCPFC - ATTC, or in CA-out of CA, but never the less shows effort separation.
USA’s entry for N Pacific would then be broken down into two gear types, or methods of fishing. Troll, and Pole & Line.
Both with their own vessel numbers and fishing days. USA’s entry for “CA only” would be only Troll and might read as such:
02‘-04’ number of vessels- 25, number of days- 2,500.
05’number of vessels- 10, number of fishing days- 500.
06’ number of vessels- 1 (Miss Angie), number of fishing days- 18.
For the years 07‘-2012’ number of vessels 0-3, number of days 5-10. Vessels like “7 daughters“, “Wendy Sea”, “Maverick”,” Betty H”, “Janthena” continue to check out areas north of Hawaii, but find no production.
I understand that some CCM’s go by “Tons landed”, and some CCM’s go by “Days Fishing”. I think both are equally important, as fishing days show effort, And landings show production. I suggest having both, just add a third bracket under the year entitled “tons landed”. Being that USA likes the “Tons Landed”, be sure to separate the areas accordingly.
For instance, 02‘-04’- in CA Area -Tons landed- 3,500.
USA never enter the number of vessels fishing for North Pacific Albacore!
OFAD  would like to see AFRF, and WFOA, along with NMFS HA & CA to continue this table back for the next 10 years. While your all together with the logs from vessels, include separation in area landings.
The current table (2002-2010) shows the years of  the return of High Seas Driftnet activity, and therefore a decline in production and effort in the off shore Troll fishery, among others.
This should be noted as “Unhealthy state of stocks”.
Being that the High Seas Driftnet activity was undetected, in the North Pacific, between the years of 1993-2000, you will find a increase in the North Pacific Troll fishery effort and production, and therefore "Healthy Albacore fish stocks".
Albacore caught in the WCPFC's CA, between 1996 - 2002, by US Troll vessels, landed American Samoa & the West Coast, made up 50% + of overall US albacore production.
This information would prove helpful for our scientists to refigure stock assessments.
As it is, in OFAD's my opinion, the Albacore stocks are in big trouble and fall far below a healthy sustainable level.
I hope this will not burden you too much and if you need my help, please feel free to contact me. I have submitted Log books as far back as 1988, so NMFS should have all my fishing information.
I can also call on other fishermen that were involved in the fishery. For instance, vessels involved: f/v America, f/v Alaska, f/v Four C’s, Maverick, Wendy Sea, Kami M, Miss Angie, Jeanie, Betty H, Hyde, Warlord, Judy S, Robin Ann, Misty R, Al G Dot, Sea Haven, Royal Dawn, Carolyn J, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Toro II, Cyote, Victoria City, Katheren Ann, just to name a few.
Thanks for your time and attention in the matter.
Regards, John Harder
President of OFAD, and Albacore Troll Fisherman, owner/operator F/V “Ocean Joy” 
Phone: (831) 320-2805
e-mail: info@oceanfad.org

John Harder