Campaign | Oceana USA

Responsible Fishing

Reducing Bycatch on U.S. Waters

Oceana works to reduce the accidental catch of non-target fish and wildlife in commercial fishing

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Bycatch is the incidental catch and resultant injury or mortality of non-target fish, protected marine species and seabirds in fisheries

For more than a decade, Oceana has advocated to reduce bycatch and the unnecessary mortality of bycatch in the U.S. Oceana works fishery-by-fishery, as well as at the national level, to promote the Oceana Approach to bycatch: count all catch (including bycatch), cap bycatch using science-based limits, and control bycatch through effective management measures that will ensure bycatch limits are not exceeded and that bycatch is reduced over time.

Certain fish species, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and seabirds are ecologically important and are a special concern because are either depleted or listed under the Endangered Species Act. Efforts to recover and rebuild populations are undermined when these animals are caught and killed as bycatch. To minimize and mitigate the higher risk these species face from bycatch, fisheries managers must consider additional options, including precautionary mortality limits, enhanced catch monitoring, spatial closures and alternative gears proven to reduce bycatch and bycatch mortality.

  • Approx. 17-22 percent of U.S. catch is discarded every year
  • Discarded fish could be worth at least $1 billion annually
  • Each year throughout the 1990s 650,000 whales, dolphins & seals were killed worldwide as a result of bycatch

What is Bycatch?

U.S. Bycatch

U.S. Fisheries with the most bycatch

Solutions to Reduce Bycatch