Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Fisheries Laying Waste to Marine Life, Says Report

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

US Fisheries Laying Waste to Marine Life, Says Report

Article excerpt

The seafood on your plate apparently comes at a steep cost: the lives of countless dolphins, sea turtles, and whales.

According to a report by Oceana, an ocean conversation group, trillions of pounds of 'bycatch' is thrown back into the sea every year by the US alone.

The report also lists nine "dirtiest" fisheries in the country that in total account for more than half of all reported bycatch in the US.

"Bycatch is the catch of non-target fish and ocean wildlife, including what is brought to port and what is thrown overboard at sea, dead or dying," says Oceana.

"While bycatch data is often outdated and inaccurate, researchers estimate that 17-22 percent of U.S. catch is discarded every year, according to the best available data.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," the report says.

The world estimates are even more staggering: 63 billion pounds of bycatch annually, most of which is thrown back into the sea. Basically, bycatch, said Oceana campaign director Dominique Cano- Stocco could be just about any marine animal that gets trapped in the fishing nets along with those that fishermen are actually looking for.

"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," Cano-Stocco said in a press release.

In the groundfishing industry, fishermen cannot be selective about their targets, because there are certain kind of fish that are found together in the sea, says Angela Sanfilippo, executive director of the Massachusetts Fishermen's Partnership. …

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