The Western Fishboat Owners Association is a non-profit group representing about 400 albacore troll-vessel owners and supporting businesses based in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, and British Columbia. These family-owned boats fish for Wild Pacific Albacore from June through October, and in the South Pacific from January through April.
Artisnal hook and line vessels fished by members of the same families over several generations form the core of the Western Fishboat Owners Association. Local west coast albacore is a fish repeatedly recognized by the FDA as nutritionally beneficial.
WFOA also has a Twitter page and a Blog where we can let our followers know about your news, so feel free to send information like when and where you'll be in port, which farmer's market you're going to, who sells your tuna, catch size, weather conditions etc.
Albacore tuna are regulated by the InterAmerican Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the regional management bodies responsible for Pacific albacore management, to be fished safely and in a sustainable manner. The recognized sustainability of American albacore fisheries is important for our member-operators, who harvest only a small fraction - 15 to 20 percent - of the entire North Pacific catch.
The American consumer should look for American albacore as the best sustainable products on the market - especially custom-packed locally produced products from our members in communities along the West Coast. Additional information on the nutrition and health aspects of albacore can be found at PacificAlbacore.com, and information on the resource sustainability of Pacific albacore is available on the National Marine Fisheries Service's site at nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch. A rating sheet for most consumer fish species, including U.S. troll-caught albacore is available from the Monterey Bay Aquarium "Seafood Watch" website.
Regular WFOA activities and services include:
Development of Pacific highly migratory species (HMS) management strategies -- as required by the 1995 UN Straddling Stocks and HMS Agreement and the U.S. Sustainable Fisheries Act. WFOA representatives serve on the U.S. delegations at Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the InterAmercian Tropical Tuna Commission, and participate in both U.S. and Canadian efforts to design a reasonable, effective, and practical domestic fishery management system.
WFOA representatives attend legislative and regulatory hearings in all states and nations where policy affecting highly migratory species fisheries -- including the albacore fishery -- are formulated. We also work in cooperation with other fishery associations on mutual legislative and regulatory issues. We are included as advisors to the U.S. State Department fisheries negotiating team, and have participated in conferences with Mexico, Canada, and the Pacific Islands.
WFOA is the managing agency for the American Fishermen's Research Foundation (AFRF), the only organization of its kind that is funded by fishing and processing community contributions alone. AFRF was founded for the purpose of furthering research into the albacore fishery. AFRF programs -- carried out in cooperation from the National Marine Fisheries Service -- include compiling data though voluntary logbooks, tagging studies to determine migration and to assess stocks, fish biology, and product quality and waste avoidance.
For more detailed information on the Western Fishboat Owners Association, email Wayne Heikkila or phone (530)229-1097.