Old sayings are repeated because they are so true, and one of our favorites is, “Waste not, want not.”
Zoe Mintz of International Business Times reports on the nine fisheries that waste almost a half billion seafood meals each year with unused bycatch. “Depending on the type of fishing gear used, fishermen tend to catch everything from dolphins to sea turtles and sharks,” Mintz reports. “These inadvertent catches are usually thrown overboard and tend to be injured, dead or dying.”
She adds: “The majority of bycatch tends to come from open ocean trawl, longline and gillnet fisheries. Researchers estimate that 20 percent of what fishermen catch in the U.S. is thrown away each year. This amounts to 2 billion pounds of wasted seafood.”
We’re proud to say that no tuna is on the list, and certainly not St Jude Tuna, which is troll-caught, with individual hook and line, targeting only albacore.
The wasteful fisheries according to the nonprofit conservation group Oceana:
Southeast Snapper-Grouper Longline Fishery, California Set Gillnet Fishery, Southeast Shrimp Trawl Fishery, California Drift Gillnet Fishery, Gulf of Alaska Flatfish Trawl Fishery, Northeast Bottom Trawl, Mid-Atlantic Bottom Trawl Fishery Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Longline Fishery, and the New England and Mid-Atlantic Gillnet Fishery.
Dominique Cano-Stocco of Oceana contends that “bycatch is a waste of our ocean resources.”
Ask how your seafood supplier about fishing methods used, and let them know you care. And remember, trolling is not trawling. Vessels that trawl are massive next to those that troll. St. Jude tuna is troll-caught and the wasteful fisheries are often trawlers. Consumers can help by not making purchases from wasteful fisheries.
Photo of factory trawler is courtesy of Garitzko and Wikimedia Commons.