North Pacific Albacore tuna stocks are among the healthiest and most carefully managed in the world. According to the National Fisheries Institute, and backed up by 3-year stock assessments from the International Science Committee (ISC), albacore stocks are healthy and well managed. The healthiest and most bountiful stocks of albacore are in the Pacific Ocean; three times more albacore tuna is sourced from the Pacific than the Atlantic.
Since the 1970s NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center has collaborated with the American Fishermen's Research Foundation (AFRF) on studies of the albacore fisheries in the Pacific. We've learned how juvenile albacore migrate across the Pacific between Japan and North America; more than 24,000 albacore have been tagged with conventional dart tags and 1,245 of these have been recovered.
In 2001 the advanced Archival Albacore Tagging program was begun; fishermen catch albacore tuna, attach specialized tags, and release the fish unharmed. This research project studies the migrations of Pacific albacore to help with stock assessment models. Archival tags collect daily locations through light level data recorded by the tag, along with internal temperature of the fish, ambient water temperatures, and the fish's depth.
YOU CAN HELP: In an average season, about 75 tags are deployed -- at a cost of $1000 to $1500 each. Well over 1000 tags have been deployed in this manner, providing over 11,000 days' worth of data. The tagged fish have recorded 42 annual migrations, some as long as 3 years. Some 37 tags have been recovered, and another 65 are scheduled to be deployed by a tuna boat in September 2018 off the coasts of Washington and Oregon.
The data acquired and analyzed through this program provides a wealth of information not just on albacore but also on migration patterns, fish depth and ocean temperature, and other trends in fisheries health and sustainability. Limited funding has kept the program within bounds, and program activities have succeeded primarily because of countless volunteer hours (and expenses) donated by commercial fishermen on family-owned boats. YOUR CONTRIBUTION is tax-deductible and helps fishermen and researchers in their efforts to analyze and maintain fisheries health.
The American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) was established in 1971 to aid, encourage, promote, and support science and education in the field of albacore and related fish species. It is a nonprofit corporation organized under the General Non-Profit Corporation Law of the State of California.