The U.S. Throws Out $1 Billion Worth of Unwanted Fish Every Year

Fisheries across the country chuck millions of dollars worth of scallops, halibut, red snapper, and other fish annually.

National Journal
Marina Koren
Add to Briefcase
Marina Koren
June 27, 2014, 9:44 a.m.

Not all of the mar­ine creatures that fish­er­men trap in their nets end up on your plate. Amer­ic­an fish­er­ies dis­card about 20 bil­lion pounds of the fish they catch every year.

That’s roughly 20 per­cent of their total haul. It’s also worth at least $1 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Thursday by Oceana, an ocean-con­ser­va­tion ad­vocacy group.

Dis­carded mar­ine bounty is known as bycatch — fish or oth­er mar­ine spe­cies, such as turtles and crabs, that are un­in­ten­tion­ally caught in fish­er­men’s nets meant for cer­tain oth­er kinds and sizes of fish. Bycatch is either brought to port and thrown out there, or tossed over­board while the fish­ing ves­sel is still at sea.

The re­port es­tim­ated the value of un­wanted fish if they had been sold rather than tossed us­ing data from the Na­tion­al Mar­ine Fish­er­ies Ser­vice’s Na­tion­al Bycatch Re­port and fish­ing-ves­sel in­form­a­tion from the Na­tion­al Ocean­ic and At­mo­spher­ic Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The Oceana re­port re­cog­nizes that fish­er­ies throw out some of their catch for good reas­on. Some­times, fish don’t meet cer­tain reg­u­la­tions, may be poor qual­ity, or have little to no mar­ket value. But Oceana and oth­er con­ser­va­tion groups say that many fish­er­ies toss out more than they keep. This makes it tough­er for fish pop­u­la­tions to re­bound, and so they stead­ily de­cline as fish­ing keeps up.

In its re­port, Oceana es­tim­ated the value of cer­tain kinds of fish us­ing the volume dis­card and the mar­ket price of a spe­cif­ic spe­cies. In the South­east U.S. in 2010, fish­er­ies tossed out $45 mil­lion in sea trout, $27 mil­lion in red snap­per, $4.2 mil­lion in king mack­er­el, and $3.4 mil­lion in bluefin tuna. Every year, fish­er­ies in the New Eng­land and the Mid-At­lantic re­gion chuck more than $20 mil­lion in sea scal­lops, $13.5 mil­lion in flounder, and $7 mil­lion in monk­fish. In Alaska, fish­er­men throw out Pa­cific halibut, cod, and snow and red king crabs when they don’t have to meet catch quotas for those spe­cies. In Cali­for­nia, Ore­gon, and Wash­ing­ton, fish­er­ies reg­u­larly toss spiny lob­ster, rock­fish, and sea bass.

Re­search­ers have long ar­gued that bycatch is a chron­ic prob­lem with eco­nom­ic con­sequences for both na­tion­al and glob­al fish­ing in­dus­tries. In 1994, the Food and Ag­ri­cul­ture Or­gan­iz­a­tion found that bycatch was cost­ing the U.S. fish­ing in­dustry bil­lions of dol­lars. In 2009, the World Bank de­term­ined that bycatch mis­man­age­ment and over­fish­ing cost the glob­al eco­nomy $50 bil­lion every year.

Now that’s a lot of fish.

What We're Following See More »
POTENTIAL CONTEMPT CHARGE
Nadler: Goodlatte Could Subpoena Rosenstein
10 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee says Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is poised to subpoena the Justice Department for former FBI Director James Comey’s memos, which the agency so far has failed to produce. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., warned such a move puts Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in jeopardy of being placed in contempt of Congress and the special counsel investigation of being shut down prematurely."

Source:
NO NEW FUNDING INCLUDED
House Ag Committee Passes Farm Bill
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS
"On a party-line vote, the House Agriculture Committee approved a five-year farm bill on Wednesday that tweaks the supports now in place—a promise of certainty, leaders said, during a period of low commodity prices and threats of a trade war with agriculture on the front line." The bill includes no new funding over the last farm bill.
Source:
WOULD ASSURE ANYONE PARDONED BY TRUMP CAN BE PROSECUTED BY STATE
Schneiderman Urges NY Lawmakers to Close “Double Jeopardy Loophole”
14 hours ago
THE LATEST
INTRO’d LAST NIGHT
Ryan Tamps Down AUMF Talk
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Referring to the AUMF introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine and Bob Corker Monday evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday "he won’t allow any bill to come to the House floor that he thinks would restrict military commanders’ ability to fight." Ryan "defended the legality of U.S. military strikes last week against chemical weapons-related sites in Syria, saying President Trump had the authority to order them under the Constitution’s Article II commander-in-chief powers."

PROSECUTORS WILL GET FIRST LOOK
Judge Denies Requests by Cohen, Trump
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Attorneys for both President Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen lost a court challenge today, as they sought to suppress evidence gathered in a raid of Cohen's office and hotel room. "U.S. District Court Judge Kimba Wood denied the requests and ruled that prosecutors will get first access to the information, followed by Cohen’s defense team ten days later. Wood noted that she has not yet decided whether she will appoint a special master in the case at all."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login