Just as we care what happens to each albacore, we also care what happens to the species and the oceans they swim in.
Troll-fishing is ocean-safe because:
1. trollers fish at very shallow, well-targeted depths and at very specific temperatures. This ensures that by-catch is almost non-existent.
2. trolling does not touch, scrape, or otherwise disturb the seabed. The ecosystem of the ocean bottom is completely unaware of our existence.
3. trollers are limited in the numbers of fish they can catch — for example, we have only 12 hooks in the water at any one time, so when an albacore is hooked we have to pull each line in individually. I always envision our boat floating above a school of fish made up of hundreds or thousands of albacore. The fish are darting here and there to catch their dinner. Into this maelstrom of swift-moving fish we throw our 12 hooks and hope a fish thinks one of our little plastic lures looks tasty.
4. Dolphins have no reason to fear albacore jig boats, with our hooks and lines. These lures neither attract nor threaten dolphins in any way. Dolphins DO love to play in the bow waves, though, and we love watching them do it. They sometimes swim under and around the boat. (I have visions of Mom Dolphin whistling to her frolicking child, “Remember to stay away from that propeller, Henry. It’s dangerous!!” The kids must mind, because we’ve never run into one ...)Is troll-fishing a sustainable fishery?
For more information about sustainable and eco (or green) fisheries, check out the following sites:
The Monterey Bay Aquarium says pole caught (troll-fished) albacore tuna is a ‘green,’ environmentally acceptable fishery in their list of Choices for a Healthy Ocean.
Article: Guilt-Free Fish: How to eat your seafood and have it, too: the Audubon Society considers Pacific Albacore tuna a green fishery based upon the methods of catching and the availability of the resource.
The Society’s seafood recommendations are listed on a handy Seafood Wallet Card you can refer to when shopping. Click on the link to download the card for printing. It can take a while to download.
What is the future of the jig fishery for North Pacific albacore tuna?
The members of our WFOA (tuna fishermen association), environmental and government agencies are now discussing management plans for the fishery.
The plan is being designed under the guidelines of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, which includes provisions for maintaining sustainable levels of fish stocks, minimizing bycatch (catching untargeted species), minimizing habitat impact, and fully utilizing the fish caught.