You made some excellent points! However, regarding albacore precence, it may be due shifts in migration or overfishing I don't nor does anyone else have a clue about it. Fish do shift migration routes like the adult bluefin we're seeing here. They usually do not occur in abundance as now as their main concentrations are far west .BFT have always been around. I don't know why people act like BFT in local water is once in a century event. Read a history of Southern California fishing, or just go to page 600 in the off shore reports. You'll see that, with the exception of a few La Nina years when the water couldn't get past 65 in the summer, local BFT have always been caught. Local cow BFT are new, yes, but cow BFT like marlin have never been an average guy's game.
Yes, I've always thought that scientists who claim they don't know what happened to the albacore are being too conservative. There is an obvious association with the drop off in global albacore populations due to fishing starting from the early 1995, to the eventual disappearance of albacore in Southern California. I know people don't like reading these papers but they should: https://www.wcpfc.int/node/29522
You'll find that there's about a 30% drop off in global albacore population that happened starting from 1995 or so, but that efforts from Asian countries have not exactly decreased. So the result is that a larger fraction of fish are being caught at the west end of this path:
Since we in California are at the south end of the albacore distribution, this global decrease in albacore population probably caused the schools to concentrate in their prime habitat, which is towards the north and off shore. The spill over albacore we've been getting have thus disappeared. I know there are other explanations like water temperature being too high, but I don't think that's it. We got albacore more or less consistently for close to 100 years in Southern California through multiple warm and cold water decades, and yet they just all of a sudden decided they want to shift their migration path completely?
Can't be sure, but like you, I think it's the effects of commercial over fishing in Asia.
I hate to agree with this, but I think you're right. People who are calling the last two years, the best fishing we've ever had, are either talking only about cow BFT, or are new to off shore fishing. All you need to do, guys, is go back 600 pages to the off shore reports section of 2008 or earlier, and you'll see that the off shore fishing back then was better than it is today. Successful days were more common, no fish days were less common, and there was more variety: you could choose to target albacore, YFT, dorado, OR BFT.
I think 2014 and especially 2015 were indeed better than even the old days - I personally remember days at Catalina where a party boat of 30 people would almost limit out on 25 pound yellow. But starting from 2016, we've been on a down turn, and I don't understand why people insist on calling it an up turn just because of cow BFT. Cow BFT make up 1% of the fish people actually catch in California. Look at the fishing as a whole and you'll see an obvious drop off in the quantity of fish we're catching here in southern California.
It is what it is, and until the global commercial industry decide to get their head out of their collective ass, it's going to stay that way.