Ocean FAD Articles > High IUU driftnet detection 2014

OCEAN FAD REPORTS ON THE NORTH PACIFIC ALBACORE TROLL FISHERY AS HAVING THE HIGHEST % OF DRIFTNET SCRATCHED TUNA EVER.
20 Oct 2014

  Last year, during Ocean FAD’s 2013 observation on board F/V Ocean Joy, there was an alarming average of 20%, of all fish taken, having driftnet marks or scratches. 

      

              

This albacore had a piece of the driftnet mesh imbedded behind the gills with the same distink markings & scratches as the others. This fish was caught in Canadian waters last year, 2013.

 

July 31st, F/V Ocean Joy left Monterey Bay, CA. and headed north towards Oregon for the Albacore fishing grownds. There has been no reports of albacore being caught off the coast of California witch is odd, but understandable being it a El Nino year. Water tempratures are warmer than normal and extended far up the west coast, clear up to the Gulf of Alaska.

   Aug. 4th, F/V Ocean Joy’s Pos. 44:00 N x 124:30 off the coast of Oregon. We are having our 1 sign of Albacore, with IUU driftnet scratched fish right away! Out of 200 albacore caught, I saw 10 (5%) IUU driftnet marked albacore. That does not mean some scratched tuna did not get by me. When the crew yell out “Scratched Tuna”, I can’t always leave the wheelhouse, or my station. It would sure be nice to have some NOAA observers here to see this, like 10 years ago…

                          

 

Aug. 5th, F/V Ocean Joy is 45:25N x 125:08W. Of the 250 Albacore, 30 (12%) albacore have IUU driftnet scratches.

Aug. 6th – 12th, F/V Ocean Joy stayed in the same area averaging 10% driftnet marked tuna, until now. Yesterday, out of 180 fish, over 30 (20%) albacore had driftnet marks. Today, out of 240 albacore caught, I lost count at 70 albacore scratched. There was too many for me to count. At least 30% of the albacore had been through or touched by IUU driftnets.

Aug. 13th, F/V Ocean Joy moved north to 46:49N x 126:15W where we caught 33% driftnet scratched albacore. Fish from all sizes & age groups bare the marks.

Aug. 14th, still in the same area, the fishing dropped off, but the amount of scratched fish remained the same. Out of 80 Albacore caught, I sighted 32 (35%) driftnet marked fish. It was all over the radios. Skippers from both the Pole & Line fleet & the Troll fleet commented on how many fish had driftnet marks on them. Even the sport fleet noticed the scratches on the 30-40 pound fish. I encouraged all to take pictures and note it in their log books.

                         

  

Aug. 15th, Ocean Joy took port in Westport, WA. We unloaded our tuna and refueled. While unloading, I reported our findings to a Fisheries officer who explained that he had heard of the scratches from other fishermen too. It was the talk of the dock, so to speak. I was also confronted by former American Albacore Fisherman Association (AAFA) director, Cpt. Carol Nish. Carol told me that the bait (Pole & Line) fleet noticed the scratched fish also and reports were made to NMFS & to NOAA. Carol went on to say that a certain Special Agent (name witheld as requested) was asking a lot of questions about IUU driftnet fishing and that I should get in touch with him. I met with this NOAA special agent, and as it turned out, he had just returned from an 800 mile flight out across the ocean in search for the IUU driftnet vessels. I commended him for his efforts & explained that most IUU driftnet activity happens in the far North West quadrant of the WCPFO and in early May & June. The same time and place where the F/V Yin Yuan was spotted last June. The Special Agent was not aware of the incident and would look into it. I let him know that I would be in touch.

                             

 

Aug. 18th, Ocean Joy departed Westport, WA for fishing. As we fished our way north into Canada, we averaged 20-35% driftnet marked albacore for the whole trip. I found it interesting that when the daily catch declined, the percentage of net marked tuna went up. We ended our trip in Prince Rupert, BC on Sep. 13th.

Sep. 16th, Ocean Joy departed Prince Rupert with new crew member Kristy Faure to act as witness and observe our next trip.

                       

  Aug. 4th, Ocean Joy’s Pos. 44:00 N x 124:30 off the coast of Oregon. We are having our 1 sign of Albacore, with IUU driftnet scratched fish right away! Out of 200 albacore caught, I saw 10 (5%) IUU driftnet marked albacore. That does not mean some scratched tuna did not get by me. When the crew yell out “Scratched Tuna”, I can’t always leave the wheelhouse, or my station. It would sure be nice to have some NOAA observers here to see this, like 10 years ago…

From Sep. 17that 54:18N x 133:55W, till Oct.16th at 47:47N x 126:44W, we remained inside Canadian waters. It was noted and witnessed that 30% of albacore caught were marked or scratched by IUU driftnets.From Sep. 17that 54:18N x 133:55W, till Oct.16th at 47:47N x 126:44W, we remained inside Canadian waters. It was noted and witnessed that 30% of albacore caught were marked or scratched by IUU driftnets.

                          

 

On the 20thof October, we landed our fish in Vancouver, BC. I gave a report to a Canadian collage journalist who passed on our concern. Fellow Canadian Albacore Trollers also reported the driftnet marked albacore to the Canadian fisheries.

                                                        

 

I filled out my log look & sent it to NMFS along with these pictures and more.

This concludes our observed North Pacific Albacore Troll season of 2014.

This 2014 Albacore season has the highest % of IUU driftnet scarred albacore ever. Too bad for the Ocean and its sustainable fisheries that NMFS & NOAA do not declare this truth!

 

 

Aug. 15th, Ocean Joy took port in Westport, WA. We unloaded our tuna and refueled. While unloading, I reported our findings to a Fisheries officer who explained that he had heard of the scratches from other fishermen too. It was the talk of the dock, so to speak. I was also confronted by an American Albacore Fisherman Association (AAFA) director, Cpt. Carol Nish, the bait Pole & Line) fleet noticed the scratched fish also and reports were made to NMFS & to NOAA. Carol went on to say that a certain Special Agent was asking a lot of questions about IUU driftnet fishing and that I should get in touch with him. I met with this NOAA special agent, and as it turned out, He had just returned from an 800 mile flight out across the ocean in search for the IUU driftnet vessels. I commended him for his efforts & explained that most IUU driftnet activity happens in the far North West quadrant of the WCPFO and in early May & June. The same time and place where the F/V Yin Yuan was spotted last June. The Special Agent was not aware of the incident and would look into it. I let him know that I would be in touch.

 

  

Cpn. John Harder