New report puts U.S. bycatch rate at 17%


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 21, 2011

According to a new report from the U.S. government, 17 percent of fish caught commercially in U.S. waters is harvested unintentionally.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service on Thursday said the report will help fisheries managers better monitor progress in reducing bycatch, a requirement set by the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

The report, however, does not represent an estimate of current bycatch rates; the data for the report was collected in 2005. But this is the first U.S. report to collect regional data about U.S. commercial fisheries into one nationwide report, according to NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

“Fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community share the goal of preventing and reducing bycatch, which is an important part of ending overfishing and ensuring sustainable marine resources,” said Richard Merrick, Ph.D., the Fisheries Service’s chief scientist. “This report helps us understand the extent of bycatch in the U.S. and the quality of our data about bycatch. As we update this report, we will see improvements in data quality and will measure the progress we believe management measures and technologies are having in reducing bycatch.”

The report provides baseline bycatch estimates for 81 fisheries and 481 species, including marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds and fish.

Click here to download the report.

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