Recently, nine top fisheries have been investigated and the results were horrifying. Evidence was found that these fisheries are responsible for a negligent amount of fish waste. In fact, the amount of waste is estimated to be up to half of the amount brought in.
Bycatch is the term used to describe the unnecessary death of sea life during the process of commercial fishing. This unfortunate aspect of the process is due to the fact that fish are caught primarily by netting. Though fishermen do what they can to minimize the risk to other fish, there are always stragglers that seem to wind up in the nets anyway.
On the whole, fisheries employ netting practices that minimize the instances of unnecessary bycatch. While there is not a method that will prevent this all of the time, there are ways to minimize the risks. Many activists have been promoting net-free fishing for some time now as a means to prevent fish loss due to bycatch.
One method which would eliminate much of the waste is what is referred to as “long line” fishing. Long line fishing is much like pole fishing in that a length of line is baited at various intervals in order to snag fish; therefore, the fisherman can attract fish by the type of bait they use. This does much to ward off any chance that other fish do not get caught unintentionally.
The amount of wasted fish per catch due to negligent practices has climbed to half of the fish harvested. These results are staggering, especially in light of the fact that the bycatch is not utilized. When this occurs, the unneeded fish are thrown overboard, dead and floating in the ocean.
Of course, some of the bycatch is eaten by predators, but the amount wasted is exponential because the surplus amount is greater than the ability of the predators to consume. The problem is, the massive amount of decay is not good for the preservation of a suitable living environment for the fish who still live and depend on the water.
The fisheries in question were found to have been negligent in their practices, showing no regard for the preservation of sea life in the process of profitable harvesting. In recent years, much attention has been brought to the topic of over fishing and the continuing scarcity of the fish that inhabit the waters.
Many varieties are teetering dangerously close to extinction, and this does not include bottom feeders and crustaceans who are dying off rapidly due to the chronic exposure to toxins. Though they exist as nature’s filtration system, the supply of toxic waste continues to outweigh their ability to maintain the environment.
This massive-scale pollution of the waters and its consequences does not just affect sea life. In fact, the waters are quickly becoming less suitable for human use. The heavy pollution is corrupting water in other sources that humans depend on. However, despite these frightening statistics, many have turned a blind eye to the harm that is being caused.
With ocean animals unable to escape the effects of these failing methods, what more must it take before fisheries and corporate money makers finally decide to implement safer practices? Rather than continuing on in this cruel trend of negligent waste that is harmful to everyone, a time has come for environmental responsibility.
By: J.A. Johnson