September 01, 2022
The American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) has announced a new study in partnership with the New England Aquarium, Orsted, Costa Del Mar, and others, to learn more false albacore (Euthynnus alletteratus) movement and mortality, called the Albie Project.
“Despite their popularity, we know almost nothing about false albacore biology and movements, likely due in large part to their lack of commercial value,” said an article on ASGA’s website. “For example, are the fish anglers target off southern New England a separate sub-population from fish found off North Carolina and Florida, or do they all represent a single well-mixed group? Do schools of fish ‘set up shop’ in general areas for weeks at a time or are they always on the move? Better understanding the degree of population connectivity is especially urgent given emerging potential threats to this species—for example, a fishery in south Florida to supply the bait market and the rapid expansion of offshore wind energy projects in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.”
The study will use acoustic telemetry tagging, which will track movements and post-angler-release mortality rates of tagged fish. It will initially involve 50 specimens, will occur around Nantucket, Massachusetts, and has recently gotten underway.
The ASGA hopes to use data from the study to inform future fishing regulations. There is currently no management in place for false albacore, meaning anglers can harvest as many and as much albacore as they want. Albies were removed from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan in 2011 due to new requirements in the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
The ASGA is asking anglers to sign on to its False Albacore Action Letter, which will be presented at the following weeks’ South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) meeting. The deadline for signing is September 8 at 5pm. Sharing the word on social media is also encouraged.