Bycatch is a real and growing problem. We are catching more fish unintentionally than ever before thanks the to large-scale implementation of bottom trawling, a fishing technique in which ships as big as supertankers drag nets the size of a Boeing 747 along the seafloor swallowing everything in their path.
Any fish that manage to stay out of trawler nets are also deeply affected when the weighted crossbars of the nets snag and destroy vast swaths of coral reefs (the total mass of coral reefs make up an area the size of France, yet provide the habitat for 25% of all marine animals).
Because we are globally trawling an area twice the size of contiguous United States every year, innumerable fish species around the globe are declining rapidly and taking with them the balance of the oceanic ecosystem.
This is a dire problem that most don’t know exists. In the Gulf of Mexico, for every one-pound of shrimp caught, up to 10 pounds of other marine species are caught and thrown back dead or dying.
Let’s stop bottom trawling, let’s take steps to tell our friends and family and ask our local grocers to sell sustainably fished seafood. For more information about the implications of over fishing practices, visit Oceana.org.
Also, pick up a copy of Ted Danson and Michael D’Orso’s beautifully illustrated book Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them and watch the documentary film The End of the Line.