Is bycatch still a problem?


Unwanted catch is an issue both ecologically and economically. Animals that are discarded often die and cannot reproduce, impacting marine ecosystems. Bycatch can slow the rebuilding of overfished stocks, and place protected species such as whales and sea turtles at further risk.

How common is bycatch?

While bycatch data is often outdated and inaccurate, researchers estimate that 17-22 percent of U.S. catch is discarded every year, according to the best available data. Bycatch in the U.S. could amount to 2 billion pounds every year, equivalent to the entire annual catch of many other fishing nations around the world.

What is being done to stop bycatch?

To minimize and mitigate the higher risk these species face from bycatch, fisheries managers must consider additional options, including precautionary mortality limits, enhanced catch monitoring, spatial closures and alternative gears proven to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality.

When did bycatch become a problem?

Bycatch issues originated with the “mortality of dolphins in tuna nets in the 1960s”.

What percentage of fish caught is bycatch?

According to some estimates, global bycatch may amount to 40 percent of the world’s catch, totaling 63 billion pounds per year. In the United States, despite strong management measures and conservation initiatives in some regions, bycatch remains a persistent problem for far too many fisheries.

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Can bycatch be good?

Bycatch of non-target fish can contribute to overfishing and slow efforts to rebuild fish stocks. Bycatch can also have negative economic and social impacts on fishermen and their communities. For example, a fishery may close early because of high bycatch of a non-target species.

Why is bycatch a major problem?

Why is bycatch a problem? Problems associated with bycatch include: endangered, threatened and protected species such as turtles and dolphins are accidentally caught, injured or killed. the food chain is disrupted by inadvertently taking fish that other fish rely on as food.

Can bycatch be avoided?

Proven solutions do exist, such as modifying fishing gear so that fewer non-target species are caught or can escape. In many cases, these modifications are simple and inexpensive, and often come from fishers themselves. Despite new technologies and industry recognition of the issue, bycatch is still a major problem.

How many dolphins are killed as bycatch?

About Operation Dolphin Bycatch Scientific evidence shows between 6,000 and 10,000 dolphins are dying each year due to non-selective fishing methods used to target sea bass.

How is bycatch managed?

NOAA Fisheries manages bycatch and its impacts through several authorities, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other domestic laws and international agreements.

Which fishing industry has the largest bycatch?

The shrimp industry results in a particularly high amount of bycatch — according to Seafood Watch, for every pound of shrimp caught, up to six pounds of bycatch is caught.

How many fish are killed by bycatch?

About 40 percent of fish caught worldwide are captured unintentionally and are either thrown back dying or left to die on the boat. This amounts to around 38 million tonnes of sea creatures caught as bycatch every year.

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What animal is most affected by bycatch?

Many animals are impacted, with the species most drastically hurt being sharks, seabirds, turtles, and dolphins.

Does aquaculture reduce bycatch?

If done correctly, it can also have minor impacts on the environment and be a sustainable practice that helps wild fish species rebound from overfishing. It also reduces the amount of bycatch that occurs with some fishing practices.

How many sharks are killed by bycatch?

Approximately 50 million more sharks die annually as bycatch in unregulated fisheries, often through the use of destructive and indiscriminate fishing methods such as longlines, gillnets, and trawls.

How much bycatch is caught every year?

Every year, fisheries around the world unintentionally catch and throw away more than 10.3 million tonnes of sea life: creatures that include fish, shellfish, corals, sponges, marine mammals, seabirds, sharks and sea turtles. 1 It’s called bycatch, and it’s a problem both ecologically and economically.

How much bycatch is caught every year?

Every year, fisheries around the world unintentionally catch and throw away more than 10.3 million tonnes of sea life: creatures that include fish, shellfish, corals, sponges, marine mammals, seabirds, sharks and sea turtles. 1 It’s called bycatch, and it’s a problem both ecologically and economically.

How much bycatch is caught per year?

Bycatch Statistics About 40 percent of fish caught worldwide are captured unintentionally and are either thrown back dying or left to die on the boat. This amounts to around 38 million tonnes of sea creatures caught as bycatch every year.

How many bycatch are there?

How many sharks are caught as bycatch?

According to the FAO, there are few fisheries that don’t catch sharks as bycatch, and some fisheries actually catch more sharks than their targeted species. Estimates suggest tens of millions of sharks are caught as bycatch each year.

What percentage of marine life caught is bycatch?

According to other estimates, the global bycatch percentage accounts for 40 percent of the world’s total catch, amounting to 63 billion pounds per year.

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Is any tuna actually dolphin safe?

No. Canned tuna has never contained dolphin and/or mammal byproducts. Non-dolphin-safe canned tuna is a fishery product that has not been certified as meeting the U.S. definition of dolphin-safe.

Why does tuna say dolphin safe?

In order for tuna to qualify as “dolphin-safe” in the United States, U.S. regulations require a written statement from the captain of the vessel, in most fisheries worldwide, certifying that no purse seine net or other fishing gear was intentionally deployed on or used to encircle dolphins during the fishing trip in …

Is there dolphin meat in tuna?

Contents of Canned Tuna Canned tuna does not contain dolphin meat. The only protein in cans of tuna comes from various kinds of tuna. While some fishing practices result in unintended dolphin mortality, the dolphins have never been the target or a product.

What is meant by ghost fishing?

Ghost fishing is a term that describes what happens when derelict fishing gear ‘continues to fish’. Atlantic croaker trapped within a derelict or “ghost” crab pot pulled from the York River in Virginia.

What is a more sustainable way to fish?

Rod-and-reel fishing results in less bycatch because non-targeted species can be released immediately. Additionally, only one fish is caught at a time, preventing overfishing. For commercial fishers, rod-and reel-fishing is a more sustainable alternative to long lining.

Leigh Williams
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