OFAD Report on the Pacific Albacore Troll Fishery in the WCPFA, 2018

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OFAD Report on the Pacific Albacore Troll Fishery in the WCPFA, 2018

By Captain John Harder, F/V OCEAN JOY

The South Pacific Albacore Troll Fishery has been on the decline for the past 12 years, and the North Pacific Albacore, inside the Convention area, is practically nonexistent for 15 years.

The South Pacific Albacore Troll fleet consisted of around 12 vessels this year. Less than 400 tons were caught by the jig fleet. The area of fish found was not healthy enough to support the amount of vessels fishing. The fleet struggled to make expanses. There are only 6 vessels starting the 2019 South Pacific Albacore season as of now. Most all are owed by one company, otherwise there would be less.

3 Albacore Troll vessels tried fishing in the North Pacific Convention Area only to fail in their efforts to find any productive area. What they did find was wads of driftnet debris from 31%-34%N x 170%E & 38% N x 176-179%E. This happened to be in the same area that was reported last year by authorities to have had no driftnet activity.

OFAD Report on the Pacific Albacore Troll Fishery in the WCPFA, 2018

The 3 vessels left the area empty handed and returned to the west coast where there was productive catches reported. By mid September, reports of driftnet scratched fish were being sighted off the coast of Washington, Oregon & Canada.

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We ask that high sanctions and or tariffs be put on the countries that are repeat offenders using IUU driftnets.

OFAD & Pacific Albacore Trollers would like to request that the commission make a ruling that forbids any pole and line vessel (Example Japanese pole boats) to come within 4 miles of a Albacore troll vessel during fishing, or daylight hrs. It happens to be a fact that once the tuna start taking to the bait, they will not feed on the jigs. This also infringes on our benefits and takes away from our freedom of the sea. Let the bait boats find their own fish, and we jig boats will do the same.

We would also request that the commission form a “Pacific Albacore Trollers Fund” for a collection of funds to aid our fishery in funding 3 observer vessels to research west of the dateline during (in-season) the fishing season. This would help enforcement to cover such a large ocean and give much needed scientific data as to the movement and harvesting of the Albacore tuna. We have eager fishermen anxious to enter the fishery, but have little to no resources to take a risk on loosing the season. For example, 1-300,000.00 USD per vessel, per season would suffice. That would be around 900,000.00 USD per year for 3 chartered vessels. This would be a great benefit to all by having extra set of eyes and ears to help curb IUU fishing, and give our sustainable fishery a boost back into production.

As it is now, We have the most sustainable tuna fishery in the world, deemed by MSC, that once thrived in the WCPFA, dead as a door-nail, or ding on the vine (South Pacific).

Please, WCPFC, we are in dire need of your help. We are made up of many nations. We have fishermen, captains, & crew from USA, Canada, New Zealand, Cook Islands, American & Western Samoa, Vet Nam, China, Fiji, Tahiti, Philippines and south American too. We are not governed by one nation, but at the mercy of all nations. As it is not to the benefit of one, but for the benefit to all. Please protect us. Enforce the law of the sea.

Thank you for your consideration and action regarding this matter.

Sincerely, OFAD & Pacific Albacore Trollers
Captain John Harder
info@Oceanfad.org

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