B.C. Tuna Fishermen's Association


MSE Overview and Treaty activity update

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Overview of Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE)

Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) is a new and emerging approach to fisheries management and stock assessment. It involves setting clear management objectives for stocks and fisheries, then using modelling or simulation testing to evaluate the ability of various management procedures (e.g. harvest control rules) to meet those objectives. Unlike traditional fisheries management approaches aimed at identifying an “optimal” stock assessment or management approach, MSE involves assessing a range of different management procedures and considering to what extent they meet (or do not meet) objectives for the fishery (e.g. conservation, harvest opportunities, etc.).

One of the benefits of MSE is that it is more iterative, collaborative and can therefore increase transparency in decision-making. It involves management agencies (e.g. DFO), First Nations, commercial and recreational harvesters and other stakeholders working together to identify management objectives, as well as considering potential risks and trade-offs between these objectives. Another benefit is that simulation testing can help determine how robust management procedures are likely to be in light of uncertainties (e.g. climate change, changes in abundance due to recruitment, natural mortality, etc.).

The collaborative nature of MSE means that the process can take time. The process is also highly-technical, including the use of models, simulation analysis and other techniques that can be time consuming and challenging for MSE participants to understand at first.

Figure 1: Steps in the MSE Process (Source: http://www.cmar.csiro.au/research/mse/)


MSE in Canada and Internationally

MSE is increasingly used to inform fisheries management decision-making in Canada and elsewhere. In Canada, for example, MSE has been used to inform the management of several species including hake, halibut, sablefish and Southern Bluefin Tuna. It has also been used by bodies such as the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO), the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Many jurisdictions, including South Africa, Europe, New Zealand and Australia use MSE as a standard fisheries management tool.

International MSE process for Northern Pacific Albacore Tuna

The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) are jointly leading an MSE process for Northern Pacific Albacore Tuna. As a member of these organizations, Canada contributed to the MSE process by identifying management objectives for albacore tuna. In May 2016, six initial management objectives for Northern Pacific Albacore Tuna were identified (see workshop report) at an international workshop. The objectives Canada advanced at this workshop were developed in consultation with and continue to be discussed with the Canadian albacore tuna and other stakeholders, through the Tuna Advisory Board and the BC Tuna Fishermen’s Association)

The interim policy goal and objectives identified by the Northern Committee of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Committee (WCPFC) are identified below. (https://www.wcpfc.int/meeting-folders/northern-committee)

Policy Goal

Maintain the North Pacific albacore biomass, with reasonable variability, around its current level in order to allow recent exploitation levels to continue with a low risk of breaching the Limit Reference Point.


  • Maintain biomass around its current level with reasonable variability

  • Maintain biomass with low risk of breaching the LRP (20%SSB current F=0)

  • Maintain biomass around its current level in order to allow recent exploitation levels to continue

For more information on the MSE process for North Pacific Albacore Tuna, please contact:


Important Message

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Attention vessel Owners and Operators,


With the strong market price for tuna and limited opportunities in the US salmon, crab and shrimp fisheries this summer, we expect to see a significant increase in both US and Canadian vessels on the tuna grounds. We also expect that a number of these vessels may be operated by skippers who are new or relatively new to the fishery, and who may not be fully aware of the history of cooperation between the two nations which has lead to common practices and courtesies of the tuna fleet.


Attached are the Rules of Etiquette as developed by the BCTFA in 2012.  The Rules of Etiquette are meant to serve as a guide to both Canadian and American fishermen.   If you have a hired skipper running your boat this summer, please ensure he receives a copy of this letter.



We would like to remind our members and fishers that these common practices and courtesies are meant set a standard of safe and respectful conduct but in no way supersede the requirements of the Collision Regs for safe navigation.  In the interest of safety and of good relations between our fleets, we encourage you to give all other vessels lots of sea room when fishing, and to do your best to avoid close-quarters situations.


Should any vessel master experience in a situation deemed to be unsafe, he should document the relevant information in his tuna logbook, and, if the situation warrants it, contact the Coast Guard and file a report.  It is in everyone¹s interest to fish and navigate safely.  As is noted in the Rules of Etiquette, "a collision at sea can ruin your entire day."  Be safe. Good luck, and happy hunting.




 B.C. Tuna Fishermen’s Association


There have been a number of incidents reported down through the years related to aggressive fishing and poor seamanship. These incidents may have unintended consequences. Please consider using these common senses rules. If we all “play” by the same rules, our job will be a lot easier and less stressful. 

1.       A circling boat is considered sacred-avoid it like the plague. NEVER cross through the area inside his circle-don’t even get close. A good rule of thumb is, if conditions allow, leave room enough for him to “reverse” his circle


2.       Some boats prefer not to circle, especially in bad weather. If you see a boat making noticeable tacks between A and B, regard it as his spot. Don’t move in, pull a circle or cut across his tack and force him off his fish.


3.     Don’t fish close to other boats. In general, stay one mile away. If you know the other boat, the courteous thing to do is call him on the VHF and ask to come in closer. This will save you getting cussed out on channel 72! If you’re called on the VHF, reply. If you call someone, state your boat name so that whom you are calling knows who to reply back to. We all make mistakes, apologize, and he will get over it a lot sooner.


4.     Remember that larger vessels are not as maneuverable as smaller ones. Their circles will be larger and they require more room to turn.


        5.     In poor visibility and/or bad sea conditions, the safe working distance between vessels is 

             ONE MILE MINIMUM. Remember a collision at sea can ruin your entire day, maybe your

             whole trip!


6.     Leave LOTS of room when drifting at night. Boats drift at different speeds. Two miles all around is generally considered minimum, but safe distances increase with wind, swell height and current.


7.     Boats with any type sea anchor drift slower than other boats. If you are using one, make sure you are up-wind of all other boats, never down-wind of the fleet.  Failure to do so invites disaster. Vessels with steady sails drift faster so they should be down-wind of all vessels


8.       Channel 72 is generally considered a safety channel at night to monitor emergencies, drifting problems, freighter traffic, etc. If you are traveling at night, make arrangements ahead of time with traveling partners to switch to another channel after dark. Other people are trying to sleep but want to monitor Channel 72 (and 16) without listening to someone’s dinner menu or who won the baseball game.


9.       When a “Jig” boat encounters a “Bait” boat and observes “men in the rack” the

courteous distance away should be a mile. It should also be noted that if you observe a bait boat making erratic course changes, it’s probably because the skipper is chasing a school using his sonar. Cut him some slack to pursue his fish.


10.    When in doubt as to what to do, which way to turn, etc., call the other guy and inform him of your intentions. This alleviates frustration and a possible confrontation. At the end of the day, INTERNATIONAL COLLISION REGULATIONS takes precedence over “Fishing Etiquette”.    



             “Watch out for the other guy”

             “Show Courtesy”

            “ Communication is the answer to confrontation”












Last Updated ( Friday, 08 July 2016 12:07 )

BCTFA Update - May, 2016

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It’s been a busy year for your executive.  There have been a number of significant changes in the structure of the BCTFA, and more changes are under way.  All of these are meant to improve the function of our organization, to provide better and more timely service to the BC tuna industry.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 May 2016 10:47 ) Read more...

Fall Newsletter - 2015

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Greetings, I hope everyone had a good season this year. Now that fall is here and everyone is back from fishing we need to start dealing with the business of the BCTFA.

At our AGM in April we again stressed that this organisation belongs to Canadian albacore fishermen. Whether fishing the high seas, Canadian or US zone everyone should have the chance to have input and decide where we need to direct our energy and time. While our goal continues to be having access for as many vessels as possible to the full migratory range for albacore, there are other issues as well.

Last Updated ( Monday, 23 November 2015 14:55 ) Read more...
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