What is Bycatch?

Aug 09 2011

In both recreational and commercial fishing, there is almost always going to be collateral damage.  That is, species other than the target will be caught and discarded, often with severe or fatal injury.  This occurrence is known as bycatch and is a tremendous threat to ocean populations.  Here is an example of the severity: “for every one pound of shrimp that is caught [in a trawl] up to ten pounds of marine life is thrown away.”  Although no exact number is known, it is estimated that “anywhere from 6.8 million to 27 million tons of fish” could be discarded in a given year; not to mention the various mammals, seabirds, turtles, sharks, and a number of other species that fall victim to incidental capture.  Unfortunately there is no way to know an exact number because there is so little on record and though estimates vary, it remains a pressing concern.

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