Albacore Foreign Fisheries

Given the pan-Pacific Ocean migration undertaken by the North Pacific albacore stock each year, this species is harvested commercially by many countries, including Japan (primarily longline and pole-and-line fisheries), Taiwan (longline fishery), and North and South Korea (longline fisheries) in the western Pacific Ocean, and the United States (primarily troll, longline, and recreational), Canada (troll fishery), and Mexico (pole-and-line fishery) in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Currently, the United States accounts for roughly 20% of the total commercial landings of North Pacific albacore, with Japan (70%) harvesting the largest amount, followed by the combined catches of Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, and Korea (10%).

In a typical year, during the late spring and summer, the Japan pole-and-line fleet will target the juvenile albacore as they form identifiable schools and begin their annual migration in waters off the east coast of Japan to the central Pacific Ocean (Emperor Seamount). In the summer and into the fall, the U.S. and Canada troll fleets will follow the albacore as they continue their migration to the eastern Pacific Ocean and coastal waters off the U.S. Pacific coast. Historically, the Asian longline fisheries harvest the adult albacore in the eastern Pacific Ocean primarily during the winter months, but in recent times, these fisheries have operated intermittently throughout the year.