AFRF and the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center have cooperated on research since 1971 and research efforts have followed changes in the Pacific fishery. In the 1970s the fishery was expanding and the international fishery catch was increasing. At that time AFRF research focused on identifying offshore areas of albacore abundance to expand U.S. participation in the fishery. The SWFSC has a detailed page online explaining the tagging program.

John Chliders - SWFSC-NOAAIMG_0503

Archival Tag Recovery Information  American Fishermens’s Research Foundation has deployed nearly 1,000 tags since 2001. The reward for recovering and sending in the whole fish is $ 500. If you find one in your albacore please separate the fish and contact SWFSC, your buyer, or AFRF.

photos of tags

Photos of tags

If you land a fish with a tag, FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY to claim your financial reward and return the tag without damaging it.

tag instructions

tag instructions


tag instructions

tag instructions


Tag Recovery Report

Tag Recovery Report

Albacore tuna are fished across the North Pacific, and extensive fisheries exist on the same stock of fish in Asia and North America. Albacore are fished off Japan in a pole-and-line fishery, and from Asia into the central Pacific by various international longline fisheries, and in the central to eastern Pacific by the U.S. troll fishery. Until recently there has been little management of albacore tuna. However, the U.S. is developing national management through a federal “highly migratory management” plan. Also, there are plans to develop international management through one or more international bodies in the future.

Albacore tuna is important to the economy of coastal communities in Washington, Oregon, and California. To protect U.S. fishing interests and to ensure the health and sustainability of this resource, a great deal of research is needed.

For both national and international management, there is a strong need to identify and document migration routes and the relationship of stocks to harvest regions. Important specific informational needs include interactions between albacore stocks and the Japanese pole-and-line fishery, the U.S. troll fishery, and the various international longline fisheries. The life history of albacore is only partially known, and major life history parameters have been invalidated.

A tagging program using archival tags is one method of obtaining a significant amount of the  distributional and life history information for north Pacific albacore tuna. The primary goals of this project are:

  •  to obtain a tag that has been proven suitable for a species such as albacore
  •  to find a tag that will withstand protracted deployment at sea and collect and store   needed information
  •  to develop methods of implanting tags to provide for the survival of the greatest number of tagged fish
  •  to develop at-sea deployment techniques and to evaluate various programs to ensure maximum recovery of tags

New Tagging Article: This is a great article written by one of the recreational anglers who recovered one of these tags. AFRF really appreciates the easy-to-understand explanation of the tagging process.

For more information: SWFSC Tagging