FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
I heard WFOA is promoting limited entry for the fleet. Is this true?
Not at all. WFOA believes in keeping the fishery sustainable and has been deeply involved in international and federal management since 1996. Stock assessments show the albacore stocks in the North Pacific are in good shape.
What is WFOA actual position on effort control for albacore?
WFOA does not support or feel the need for limited entry on the albacore troll fishery at this time. WFOA also believes if a new international stock assessment shows problems in the future the U.S. fleet, which is shrinking by attrition should not take on effort or catch control unilaterally. WFOA believes a sound multilateral approach would be best and undertaken by all countries and RFMO's with landings equally and fairly, as well as addressing factors such as IUU fishing.
Is WFOA an exclusive offshore large vessel association?
No, not at all. Western Fishboat Owners Association vessels range from 30 to 100 feet in length with the average around 55 feet. The vessels pack an average of 30 tons of frozen albacore. About 80 percent of the WFOA membership fishes for other species during the year. These include crab, salmon, shrimp, swordfish, urchins, groundfish, halibut, blackcod and others.
Is the majority of the WFOA board made up of large offshore vessels?
No. There are currently 21 board members with the Hawaii district vacant. Of the 21 directors, 14 have vessels under 60 feet in length. Of the 21 board members, all but 2 operate their own vessels during the season.
Why do the large vessel owners and the same people always get on the board?
Board members are elected each year for two-year terms at the spring directors meetings, usually in March. Any paid-up member can run for director and would most likely be welcomed. The number of directors in each district is allocated by the number of regular members on December 31 of the preceding year. Regular members are those paying at least $300 in dues. Associate members who pay $125 are not counted in re-apportionment, but have all the same voting privileges.
Doesn’t WFOA sell only to the U.S. canners?
No, up until 1998, about 90 percent of the catch was bought by the three U.S. canners, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea, and Star Kist. Today less than 10 percent is purchased by them. Most albacore landed by U.S. trollers is exported to Spain and Asia, but an increasing amount (20 percent in 2009) is being sold domestically in custom cans or value-added products.
WFOA used to have a radio fish report that was very useful to coastal boats. What happened?
The regular SSB report began in the 1980s and worked very well as a way to disseminate information to the fleet on catches, market, regulations, and safety information. However, and somewhat unfortunately, times have changed. Code groups that began also in the 1980s with salmon became the norm in the albacore fleet. As high-tech transmission and receiving devices (such as satellite email and phones) came into play, the situation went totally underground. WFOA is still striving to get information out by alternative means. WFOA now has established an email list to vessels with systems such as Skymate, Oceans and others. We can also send short text messages to Globalstar phones.
WFOA used to have water temp charts. Where are these?
They used to come out of Ocean Eye and were faxed. AFRF used to pay for them when they were experimental ... now they have gone to subscriptions for boats, and they get colored charts in 10th of degrees via email to the boats. Other companies such as geoeye.com do it for our boats -- and they are WFOA members.
I sell all my albacore directly to the public or to custom processors. Why should I be involved in WFOA?
WFOA has taken on a new direction aimed at marketing albacore to high-end and quality-conscious U.S. consumers. Such marketing will bypass the payment of overseas shipping costs, and at the same time give the U.S. consumer increased access to this local, wild, and sustainably caught product. We have contracted with Brooke George, formaerly of Crocmedia LLC, based in Los Angeles, CA to help promote our product and educate the consumer. WFOA has spent a considerable amount of money on this and it rpomotes all U.S. Troll and Baitboat Wild Pacific Albacore.
If you have a question please email it to WFOA and we will post it with an answer.