Bycatch - 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



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

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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 they 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.