Fish or animals that are accidentally caught in commercial fishing operations are called bycatch. These dead or dying creatures are usually discarded overboard. Fisheries now throw away more than 20% of all the fish they catch. This translates into more than 2 billion tons of edible fish and drowned animals each year. It has recently been reported that 9 American fisheries, which produce just 7% of the fish sold here, are responsible for more than half of Americaâ€™s bycatch. Some of these companies throw away as much as 66% of their catch, wasting this precious ocean resource. Fishing bycatch often includes young sharks, striped bass, swordfish, lingcod and halibut as well as animals such as dolphins, whales and seabirds. Marine advocates say the loss of young fish greatly limits the ability of a species to breed successfully. Bycatch often results from long-line and drag-net fishing methods and wastes food that tuna, salmon, sea lions and others depend upon for survival. It is estimated that about 1,000 whales, dolphins and porpoises drown each day after becoming entangled in nets and other fishing gear. Nearly 20% of all shark species are facing extinction from inadvertent long-line capture and as many as 250,000 unwanted loggerhead and leatherback turtles are also killed this way each year. Advocates say these commercial fishing practices are not sustainable and that we are endangering the health of our oceans.
Pending Legislation: None
I oppose reforming current bycatch fishing policy
I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to reduce fishing bycatch and prohibiting fisheries from wasting more than 20% of their catch, with enforcement provided by onboard observers and sharply escalating penalties for repeat offenders