Nets with Holes in Them Reduce Unwanted Fish Catch by 70 Percent

| Mon Aug. 7, 2006 1:24 PM PDT

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Some good news, for a change, concerning the oceans: The U.N. is reporting that fishing nets with "exit holes" being introduced under a project to salvage depleted world fisheries are helping shrimp trawlers reduce "bycatch" by up to 70 percent. (Reuters)

Bycatch (whereby large numbers of marine animals are caught "incidentally" in fishermen's nets) is a massive problem, contributing to the already intense overfishing of the seas. One in four animals caught in fishing gear dies as bycatch, meaning that each year millions of animals--especially sea turtles, dolphins, seals (pictured), sharks, swordfish and whales--are killed.

Shrimp fishing (a $12 billion-a-year business) is particularly wasteful owing to the fineness of the nets used, and more than 60 percent of what is currently caught (sharks, turtles and more) is discarded.

(More on the state--and the fate--of the ocean here.)

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