North Pacific albacore tuna fishery

Photo: captured tuna
Captured tuna

The Canadian albacore jig fishery is comprised of two fleets. The coastal fleet operates within the Canadian and United States fishing zones in accordance with zone and port access privileges under the US/Canada Tuna Treaty (amended 2013). Vessels in this fleet, mostly 35 to 60 feet in length, fish from the southern California coast to as far north as the west coast. Ocean conditions, the availability of albacore, and abundance and distribution of salmon all influence the size and distribution of the Canadian tuna fleet in any particular year. Effort in the coastal fishery normally peaks in September, after the salmon season for trollers has wound down, although in recent years, with very limited salmon opportunities in Canada, the coastal fleet has been starting on tuna at an earlier date.Catch from the coastal fleet is sold both into the canned and blast-frozen tuna markets.

The Canadian high seas fleet is comprised of larger jig vessels (most greater than 60 feet) with crews typically of two to four fishermen that remain at sea for trips of several months. These vessels, many of which are equipped with large freezers, operate primarily from west of the dateline to the Canadian zone in the north Pacific. Some offshore vessels transship their catch to carrier vessels at sea in order to continue fishing operations on migrating schools of tuna. Offshore fishing in the north Pacific on the Wake Island grounds usually starts in late May or June and, weather and tuna abundance permitting lasts through late fall as the vessels follow albacore towards the North American coast. Offshore vessel catches are sold primarily into the blast-frozen sashimi market.

Species information

Integrated fisheries management plan

Fishery information


Canada/USA Pacific albacore treaty

Authorized Canadian vessels

Authorized U.S. vessels

Map: WCPFC/IATTC convention areas

Map: WCPFC/IATTC convention areas