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Hooked! Moosa and Yaman catch their first albacore!

We sent two young aspiring fishers from the Fisherman’s Community and Training Centre in the Maldives to learn to fish for MSC certified albacore off the Coast of Washington State; it’s a peer-to-peer pole and line voyage of discovery. You can catch live updates on Twitter by following the hashtag #IPNLFvoyage

Reading Moosa and Yaman’s update emails in London, it is hard not to feel a sense of pride over their achievements. My mornings are truly brightened by their emails from on board the Royal Dawn! No more has this been true than on the 23rd of August, when Moosa and Yaman messaged to say they caught their first albacore, which they describe as being completely different from skipjack.

“It’s very nice to catch an albacore for the first time but the sad story is that I got tired, and the crew said I still do not have the stamina or power to kill an albacore!” laughs their email. But within a day or so, they report catching twenty! Their stamina improves every day, and their enthusiasm and determination are driving them forward.

“Sometimes the albacore wins, sometimes I win. It’s a kind of pretty little game, I think,” says Yaman.

Within four days, they report the hold is half full, fishing approximately 70 miles from WestPort. When fishing for albacore, pole and line vessels tend to go out fishing for multiple weeks at a time, until the hold is full. This is very different from the Maldivian style of skipjack fishing that Moosa and Yaman are used to, where trips may last one or two days.

But beyond the time differences, Yaman reports that albacore really are a different species. “Previously, by looking at videos I thought catching albacore was very easy, like skipjack. But oh my gosh, big guys! Fatties!” At 1.4m long on average and weighing up to 60kg, albacore are much, much bigger than skipjack that reach a maximum of 35kg. Moosa and Yaman joke that they are getting fit from all the fishing.

Regarding the albacore, “we had a good fight, and there is still more to come – a fishing war!” laughs Yaman.

"We are really very proud to be the first fishermen from the Maldives who are experiencing albacore fishing”, they report. “I wish I could do this till the end of this summer, and to be an American fisherman too, hah!”

The Royal Dawn is now back in port while they unload the tuna and await heading out for their second trip. Stay tuna'd for their video clips, which will be coming soon!