The St. Jude participates exclusively in the troll fishery for albacore. One beauty of this fishing method is that our impact on the ocean’s food chain is very targeted. I would estimate that our catch of other species while trolling for albacore averages about two fish per thousand albacore caught. None of the fish we catch is wasted, most provide a welcome change of diet to the crew.
In my personal experience in thousands of hours trolling, we never had a marine mammal encounter, we never killed a shark, we once gave a thrill ride to a three pound green turtle when he got tangled up with a jig line but he was released uninjured after we took a few pictures. We do occasionally hook seabirds. The birds are very light and they are easy to retrieve to the boat , we release them immediately and generally they show no ill effects.
When we use the phrase sustainable fishery, I feel we are perhaps overestimating our own understanding of how the ocean’s food chain functions. In the case of albacore, is a fishery sustainable if the target species (albacore) can support the harvest but another non target species in population decline is impacted? There may be some who feel that the service of providing food to an increasingly hungry world defends wasteful, unsupportable methods. I think it is an enormous mistake of pride to treat the ocean as though it exists for our needs.
Detailed studies about the state of our oceans
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program
Here is a list of seafood recommended you eat in order to save the oceans. The jig-caught albacore that we catch and sell is a green light Best Choice.
The Pew Oceans Commission
This private group, which consists of 18 Americans representing science, business, government, the fishing industry and conservation community, investigated the state of the oceans for three years and presented the results to Congress and the nation in June 2003.
Among the topics covered: governance for sustainable seas, restoring America's fisheries, preserving the coast line, cleaning coastal waters, and guiding sustainable marine aquaculture.
US Commission on Ocean Policy
In 2000, Congress established the US Commission on Ocean Policy to review the state of the oceans and make recommendations. Nominated by Congress and supported by President Bush, the 16 members of the Commission have backgrounds in marine science, policy, law, resource development, and ocean exploration. Whereas the government-based Stratton Commission thirty years ago recommended a policy of aggressive exploitation of the ocean's resources, the new commission's recommendations echo those of the Pew Commission.
The Commission released its preliminary report in April 2004 and is expected to issue its final report shortly.
Center for Sea Change
Based in Washington, DC, SeaChange promotes the recommendations of both the Pew Oceans Commission and the US Commission on Ocean Policy. Here you find links to both reports, as well as the latest news about ocean policy legislation. In June and July 2004, three new bills were introduced in Congress:
- HR 4900, The Oceans Conservation, Education and National Strategy for the 21st Century, known as OCEANS 21 Act
- HR 4706, The Fisheries Management Reform Act of 2004, and
- S 2647 National Ocean Policy and Leadership Act.
Also find here fact sheets about toxic and nutrient pollution, marine aquaculture, marine reserves, overfishing, bycatch and habitat destruction, and cruise ship pollution.
With over 200,000 members worldwide, this international advocacy organization campaigns for concrete changes to reduce pollution and the collapse of fisheries and other sea life. Among other things, this web site highlights urgent lawsuits the group is involved in. For example, Oceana in January l999 filed a complaint on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Audubon Society, Environmental Defense Fund and Ocean Conservancy when the US government defied the Magnuson-Stevens Act with respect to over-fishing. The court ruled decisively for Oceana and the plaintiffs. Very cool organization. We urge you to join.
For over 30 years, the Ocean Conservancy has worked to protect the oceans. The web site includes an impressive list of accomplishments divided into decades.
Blue Frontier Campaign
No doubt named after the fabulous book, Blue Frontier: Saving America's Living Seas
, by David Helvarg (available on Amazon.com
), this group of "seaweed rebels" (as they call themselves) is spawning a "blue movement." Among other things, this Web site includes a blue movement directory featuring every organization in each state that deals with blue movement causes. The state of Maine, for example, has 31 links; Washington State, 53. Also recommended: the site's Solutions directory of case studies
. Examples: What Reef Relief has done for Coral Reefs; and Seaside, Florida and Hilo, Hawaii: Two Examples of Sustainable Coastal Development.