What’s the meaning of bycatch?

For NOAA Fisheries, bycatch refers to“discarded catch of marine species and unobserved mortality due to a direct encounter with fishing vessels and gear.” These unintentionally caught animals often suffer injuries or die.

What is the most common bycatch?


Longlines, trawling and the use of gillnets are the fishing methods that most commonly result in bycatch. Longlining is a commercial fishing method commonly targeting swordfish, tuna and halibut, where hundreds or thousands of baited hooks hang at intervals along a single fishing line.

What is the bycatch of aquaculture?

Bycatch is a generic term referring to catch that is incidental to the target species. It is often associated with trawl fisheries but can be a feature of other fisheries.

What happens to the bycatch?

Bycatch can negatively affect species such as dolphins, sea turtles, protected fish, and whales by harming animals, contributing to population declines, and impeding population recovery. Other impacts of fisheries on marine mammals may include removal of their preferred prey and sometimes habitat damage.

Which fishing method has the most bycatch?

Gillnets have the most bycatch of any kind of fishing net, but their use has been declining. Gillnets can be sustainable in some cases, for example salmon congregate at choke points that can be walled off without affecting other species.

What is bycatch and why is it harmful to the environment?

Bycatch is the capture or entanglement of non-target species, juvenile fish, or other animals like seabirds, marine mammals, or endangered sea turtles in fishing gear. Lost and abandoned fishing gear can also continue to fish indiscriminately, creating bycatch and scouring habitats for long periods of time.

Why should we care about bycatch?

Unmanaged unwanted catch can reduce the population of a fish species to a point where it is difficult to replenish. Where unwanted catch is not properly managed or mitigated, it can lead to devastating effects on habitats and marine life such as turtles and marine mammals.

Why are marine biologists concerned about the changes shown in the graph?

Why are marine biologists concerned about the changes shown in the graph? Increasing water temperatures can lead to coral reef declines. Marine mammals and birds are susceptible to being entangled in and strangled by larger pieces of plastic.

How common is bycatch?

According to bycatch as defined in this report and elsewhere, the most recent analyses show a rate of approximately 10% (Zeller et al. 2017; FAO 2018). In the United States, despite strong management measures and conservation initiatives in some regions, bycatch remains a persistent problem for far too many fisheries.

Which animals are caught in bycatch?

Bycatch can be fish, for example undersized animals, egg-laden females, or non-target species. It also includes other animals such as dolphins, turtles and seabirds that can get hooked or entangled in fishing gear.

What is bycatch and how can it be managed?

Bycatch is fish or other marine species caught unintentionally while trying to catch another type of fish. In some cases, bycatch cannot be avoided, and unwanted fish end up in the fishing net.

What animal is most affected by bycatch?

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

How many fish are killed by bycatch?

Worldwide more than 650,000 marine mammals die as fishery “bycatch” annually. Fishing gear can cause months of suffering when it ensnares a migrating whale.

When did bycatch become an issue?

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

How much of the world’s catch is bycatch?

That is 40% of fish catch worldwide. A large amount of this is either thrown back into the sea as ‘rubbish’, dead, dying or seriously injured, or disposed of on land.

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.

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 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.

Is bycatch sold?

Bycatch is defined in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as fish that are harvested in a fishery but which are not sold or kept for personal use.

Does canned tuna have dolphin meat in it?

Does non-dolphin-safe canned tuna contain dolphin meat? No. Canned tuna has never contained dolphin and/or mammal byproducts.

Why do tuna cans 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 dolphin a friendly fish?

Most of the time, dolphins are not dangerous. Some are friendly and curious while others are skittish and avoid human contact.