Something’s Fishy: Why American Waters Are Being Wasted

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Consuming the right seafood helps soak your brain in healthy fats, while also fending off brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and developmental deficiencies like birth defects.

But if you’re a proud fisherman out catching your own source of swimming omegas, you’re probably doing it all wrong– while making huge amounts of waste in the process. That’s right: a surprising 22 percent of fish caught in U.S. fisheries are discarded before the ship even gets back to its port! A recent Oceana report believes that equates to about two billion pounds of fish wasted, and well before the catch even gets to consumers.

This wasteful fishing is beginning to harm our oceans and ecosystems, while often leaving non-target fish species to be wasted, too, when they’re accidentally caught up in long lines and nets.

Fortunately, Oceana is trying to help fishermen use more ocean-friendly tactics to lower their bycatch, with fisherman being able to charge a premium if they show themselves as users of these more-sustainable methods.

Oceana’s Wasted Catch report examined nine of the more unclean fisheries in the U.S., specifying how they toss out about half of the fish they catch. “Anything can be bycatch,” says Dominique Cano-Stocco, Oceana’s campaign director. “Whether it’s the thousands of sea turtles that are caught to bring you shrimp or the millions of pounds of cod and halibut that are thrown overboard after fishermen have reached their quota, bycatch is a waste of our ocean’s resources. Bycatch also represents a real economic loss when one fisherman trashes another fisherman’s catch.”

Fishing methods that look to be more harmful for the sea include ocean trawl(when nets are pulled behind boats), gillnet, and longline fisheries. “Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles, and fish needlessly die each year as a result of indiscriminate fishing gear,” says Amanda Keledjian, a marine scientist at Oceana. “It’s no wonder that bycatch is such a significant problem, with trawls as wide as football fields, longlines extending up to 50 miles with thousands of baited hooks, and gillnets up to two miles long. The good news is that there are solutions—bycatch is avoidable.”

 

 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of moments in nature by Antje Schultner

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