Mayor Bob Filner appeared yesterday afternoon (June 10) along with Jack Webster, president of the American Albacore Fishing Association and other Association members for a press conference held against the backdrop of San Diego’s tuna fishing fleet to celebrate a partial triumph in removing Canadian fishing vessels from what the Association says are overcrowded U.S. waters.
The Association, whose membership consists of 21 family-owned boats based in San Diego, had approached Filner requesting that he appeal to Secretary of State John Kerry with regard to amending or abolishing the U.S.-Canada Albacore Treaty, which allowed tuna fishermen from each nation access to the neighbor’s national waters and expired in 2011. The result was a large-scale expansion of Canadian fishing fleets into U.S. territory, which local anglers have said cuts into their catch.
“We have such a proud heritage here in San Diego from our tuna fleet and professional fishing,” said Filner. “But we have not worked hard enough to keep this profession alive.”
“We will not tolerate a so-called reciprocal relationship that puts American working people at a disadvantage,” Filner added.
A new agreement entered into by the two nations significantly reduces the number of Canadian boats that will be operating out of U.S. waters going forward.
“We stand firm in looking to have zero Canadian presence in our waters eventually,” said Webster during his turn at the podium. “But the fact that we did get some movement where the level of their boats was brought down is greatly appreciated.”
The current treaty lists 45 Canadian boats authorized to fish in U.S. waters beginning June 15 and running through September 15 of this year.