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Overfishing: What is Bycatch?


Bycatch is the capture of non-target species such as dolphins, whales, marine turtles, fish, and seabirds by commercial fishing. Thousands of miles of nets and lines are set in the world’s oceans each day. Modern fishing gear, often undetectable by sight and extremely strong, is very efficient at catching the desired fish species—as well as anything else in its path. A staggering amount of marine life—including turtles, dolphins and juvenile fish—is hauled up with the catch, and then discarded overboard dead or dying.

What can you do to combat bycatch?

  • Buy sustainable certified seafood that comes from fisheries that use bycatch prevention methods
  • Ask for seafood from sustainable fisheries in restaurants
  • Support non-profit organizations that combat bycatch and work on solutions with commercial fisheries