- Fishing Regime 2014-2016.
- 45 Canadian albacore vessels in U.S. waters from June 15 – September 15.
- U.S. access to Canadian waters June 15 – October 31, based on historic number of vessels.
AAFA’s Current Position
By allowing 45 Canadian boats to fish in US waters for the 2013 season, the US State Department violated the congressional mandate to keep Canadian albacore effort in the US EEZ to slightly above pre-1998 average levels, which equals about 300 tons per year. Circumstances have changed greatly since the ratification of the treaty, and it no longer benefits US fishermen. After the 2013 season, there must be immediate cessation of all Canadian fishing in US waters, and termination of the US-Canada Albacore Treaty. We will continue to be involved in all albacore related meetings and push politically for a resolution through personal involvement and through the political process.
Where do we go from here?
Negotiations for future fishing regimes will commence in 2015. We need your feedback.
Although VMS is required for all vessels fishing west of the 150 line, VMS should not be required on pole or troll vessels fishing for albacore east of the 150 line. There is no no bycatch in the pole and troll fisheries, and there are no closed areas where albacore boasts fish that would require vessel monitoring. Such a requirement would serve no purpose and would create an entirely unnecessary financial and administrative burden for fishermen.
While AAFA understands the need and protection of forage fish, we believe that management decisions regarding the harvesting of forage fish must be done using good reliable science and data. As harvesters of bait fish we will participate in the discussion regarding forage fish at the management level as it moves forward.
Pole and Line harvesters should be exempt from any restrictions regarding harvesting of forage fish.
Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQ’s) should never be used as a management tool for troll and pole caught albacore.
Albacore is one of the last rema1n1ng open access fisheries in the US, and it should remain this way at this time. Historically, our US fleet is decreasing while other countries continue to build new boats to target albacore. Until there is consensus and cooperation among all Pacific albacore fishing countries, the US should keep albacore an open access fishery and should not have any special limitations.
For consistent management to take place, ‘effort’ needs to have a universally accepted, well delineated definition. Currently, days on the water is being used as a means for establishing effort. However, if a definition of effort is adopted, it has to be an across the board way of identification for all Pacific albacore fishing countries. Effort must be chosen from a range of years that shows an accurate average. American boats should not be limiting or reducing effort when other countries are building boats and increasing effort.
Larger, lower cost, foreign (primarily Canadian) vessels are regularly entering into the US fishing fleet, devaluing our vessels and competing for our fishing resources. When these vessels enter the US fleet, it takes away from US shipbuilding volume, costs US jobs, and increases costs of building new boats domestically. The authors of the Jones Act foresaw this issue and made it so that no foreign vessel over 5 net tons could participate in a US fishery. However, creative measurement techniques and archaic rules have allowed for vessels as large as 90 feet to be admeasured to be less than 5 net tons. There needs to be an immediate change in the rules for all foreign vessels entering the US based on a simple calculation like maximum length and width in addition to net tonnage so that loopholes on admeasured boats that were never intended can be closed. Many of the admeasured boats, once modified and admeasured, remove these modifications. Removing these illegal boats from US waters needs to be a high priority. We will work with the Coast Guard to make sure that they see that this type of enforcement needs to be made a priority.
Representation on management issues
AAFA will continue to have representation at all international and domestic meetings regarding albacore management. We feel that we must remain proactive in our approach to albacore management. AAFA believes that albacore should be managed in a sustainable way that will protect the resource and provide continuing opportunities for fisherman now and in the future.
AAFA welcomes any suggestions regarding these and any other management issues regarding albacore. If you have any suggestions, please forward them to the AAFA office via e-mail or phone. All suggestions will be forwarded to the AAFA management team.