Call to Action: Speak up for Albies at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

*This CTA is now CLOSED* For the latest on The Albie Project, click here.

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.

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.

What’s Next? 

Developing management and conservation for a data-limited species like false albacore is no easy task. While there is certainly a lack of information on albies, there are many others species without stock assessments or high-quality data that are managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and there are non-traditional management tools and strategies that can be used. 

At this moment, we want manangers to understand that a lot of anglers, organizations, and businesses care a great deal about albies. And while the species is not (to our knowledge) in trouble right now, the goal is to take a precautionary approach that keeps the albies abundant in the future. We hope  that this letter and campaign will encourage future discussions by managers at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council regarding a path forward for this species. From there, ASGA will get back into the weeds and work with Council Members and staff to spell out what false albacore management may look like. One thing is for certain: We have to start somewhere.  

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