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Action Alert: Speak Up For Albies

Light tackle and fly anglers up and down the Atlantic coast pursue false albacore during all parts of the season. It is estimated that over half a million trips per year are taken with false albacore being the primary target. In regions like North Carolina and Massachusetts, these targeted trips generate a robust economy for surrounding coastal communities. These fish are valued by anglers as well as business owners due to their inshore availability as well as their hard fighting nature.

The American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA) recognized this value to our members and launched our tagging study to address the lack of scientific data for the species. Right now, we don’t know if the fish our guides catch in Massachusetts are the same fish that are landed in Florida. We don’t know where false albacore spawn. For such an economically important species, there is a lot we don’t understand.

In 2011, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council removed false albacore from their Coastal Migratory Pelagics Fishery Management Plan (FMP) due to new requirements from the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). There were subsequent efforts in 2016 in the Mid-Atlantic and again in 2019 in the South Atlantic to manage false albacore, but both failed.

Our guides and fishing-related businesses on the Atlantic coast can’t afford to lose another species.  ASGA believes that false albacore need to be managed under an FMP according to the MSA National Standard Guidelines laid out by NOAA Fisheries. For us, albies meet these criteria:

  • The stock is an important component of the marine environment.
  • The stock is targeted and caught by fisheries.
  • An FMP could improve or maintain the condition and scientific understanding of the stock.
  • The stock is important to recreational and commercial users and regional economies.
  • Developing fisheries may emerge, and an FMP, with precautionary management strategies, should be in place to oversee it.
  • There is no formal management or regulation for false albacore by federal or state entities.

Our position is simply that the stock is important and valued and therefore needs to be managed. ASGA has gone so far as to raise funding and initiate two tagging efforts to bolster the data.

If you love chasing albies, if you think it is a species that deserves to be managed, please add your information to our sign-on letter. The deadline for signing on is September 8 at 5PM so that we can submit the letter in time for the following week’s SAFMC meeting. Time is short. We need to show support from guides, businesses, and private anglers from the entire coast. ASGA was built to galvanize the community for these fights. We can’t do this alone. We need all of you to rally today to support the management of false albacore.

Join the ASGA’s sign-on letter here, today!

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