The Oregon Albacore Commission (OAC) has become the latest Member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains.
Formed in 1999 through an act of the Oregon Legislature, OAC represents the interests of the region’s tuna producers, processors and other stakeholders. The Commission’s primary activities include marketing and promotion, information dissemination, consumer education and research. It is funded through a levy placed on all of the albacore (Thunnus alalunga) landed in the state, split equally between the harvester and first-receiver. All of this tuna is caught using one-by-one fishing methods.
From June to October, Oregon fishermen catch albacore as schools come closer to the coast during their migration up the west coast of North America. The boats, ranging from 9 to 18 metre, are almost all multi-generational, family-owned. They target their catch by towing lures called “jigs” from fishing lines that are attached to outriggers and extend from either side of the vessel. Each albacore (averaging 5-9kg) is landed by hand one at a time. Tuna is also caught using individual fishing poles.
This type of fishing, widely known as trolling, hook and line, and pole-caught results in a very high-quality product and eliminates the inadvertent catch of non-target fish species and other by-catch, including sea turtles and dolphins. These catching methods are recognised as environmentally responsible by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch programme, which has awarded Oregon albacore a “Best Choice” seafood product rating. The fishery is also certified as well-managed and sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Oregon albacore is supplied to markets in a variety of formats, including fresh, fresh-frozen and micro-canned in small batches.
Nancy Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Oregon Albacore Commission, says, “We’re very proud that every Oregon albacore is caught one-by-one, landed by hand, and immediately chilled to maximise the quality for discerning consumers in North America and other important seafood markets. Joining IPNLF’s international network underlines our position as one of the cleanest fisheries in the United States, and provides a platform to not only share the story of our fish and the fishing families connected to this amazing resource, but to connect with the broader one-by-one tuna community to elevate the consumer profile of these fish.”
Through its membership of IPNLF, OAC joins a growing network of tuna supply chain stakeholders from all over the world that are supporting its work to enhance the supply of one-by-one caught tuna, and strengthening the value that these fisheries bring to the coastal environments and communities connected to them.
Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, says, “We are extremely pleased to be welcoming the Oregon Albacore Commission to our growing Member network. The Oregon fleet is passionate about the prime albacore that it’s catching and also about ensuring the long-term sustainability of the fishery for many generations to come. There is much that IPNLF and the Commission can learn from one another as we seek to further progress the one-by-one tuna agenda, including markets’ appreciation of these special fisheries.”
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