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 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

Tag Data Processing Project 2017: American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) has been working on a cooperative research project with Southwest Fisheries Science  Center (SWFSC) – NOAA/NMFS tagging west coast albacore tuna with archival tracking tags since late 2001. Nearly 1,000 tags have been deployed by U.S. albacore vessels and technicians from the SWFSC in that time frame and over 30 tags have been recovered with very interesting information regarding albacore migration, feeding patterns, and daily movements.

Over that period of 16 years over 1.2 million dollars contributed by the albacore troll and pole industry  and NOAA has been spent deploying and purchasing these tags. The problem we have had is the continued issue of funding and lack of personnel at the SWFSC to process the tag data in a timely manner, write publishable reports, and disseminate the data and results to the public and management and scientific regulatory bodies. Given there is uncompleted issues we have never been able to adequately utilize the information in stock assessment and management forums.

AFRF has realized that a more pro-active approach to processing this data is essential and AFRF will hire  Stephanie Snyder to processes and write reports on the remaining tags that have languished at SWFSC.  The processed data is fascinating and would help support the U.S. troll and pole west coast fisheries in management and scientific venues ongoing that look at health and abundance of the stock and try to make regulatory decisions for the future all which affect local fishermen.

This type of project has never been done by anyone, including NOAA. This is necessary as there is a backlog of tags at SWFSC on hold due to budget constraints and if we do not do it the money spent to date will not result in any conclusions.

AFRF believes those directly and indirectly depending on albacore harvesting and processing contribute financially to this project. We are  asking  west coast associations, commissions, and others to consider this. In return you will be added to the updates on this information as well as recognition to the public and industry.

OVERVIEW: Stephanie Snyder will provide the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation with analytical reports and presentations of data collected through the Albacore Archival Tagging Program. By collaborating with members of AFRF and scientists at NOAA, she will bring to this project her experience with both movement data and remote sensing data to deliver timely first looks at newly recovered tags as well as in depth analysis to understand patterns across fish. In addition to the analysis, she will advocate for the continued funding of the tagging program through annual program productivity reports to the Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Objectives The proposed services will address the following needs:

•  News & Updates: A prompt “first look” into the tracks and behavior of new recoveries as well as reports on deployment trips.

•  Insights into albacore behavior: Scientific analysis of the tagging data that provides an understanding of albacore diving behavior and migration within the context of dynamic oceanographic conditions.

• Program promotion & funding: Promotion of the importance of the tagging program to the management of the albacore fishery.

News & Updates: The invested time and resources into the Albacore Archival Tagging Program have resulted in an invaluable dataset of albacore movements under years of dynamic oceanographic conditions. However, this data loses all its value if it is not analyzed and communicated in a professional and timely manner. Currently, there is a backlog of tags and a great potential for discovering how dynamic oceanographic conditions will influence the fishery. Communication of the tagging efforts and the scientific insights gained is essential for maintaining a productive tagging program. Stephanie proposes to accomplish this through presentations and multiple forms of written reports including a post fishing season newsletter with briefing on deployments and recoveries, a first look tag recovery report, an annual presentation to the AFRF, and annual progress report to SWFSC directors.

To See Video of one track:  http://tinyurl.com/z3enha2

For more information: SWFSC Tagging