The Beacon

Blog Tags: Bycatch

Oceana Wins Bycatch Victories from Northeast Fisheries Managers

(Photo: Oceana / Marek Budniak)

Last week, the New England Fishery Management Council took an important step forward for ocean conservation by agreeing to allocate $800,000 to support fishery research in the struggling groundfish fishery for cod, haddock and flounder. The Council has funds to support several projects and included bycatch reduction and solutions as themes in the call for research proposals.


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Hammerhead Shark Management Should Reflect Unique Evolutionary Traits, Scientists Say

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini)

A school of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna lewini). (Photo: Oceana / Rob Stewart)

Known for their mallet-shaped heads, hammerhead sharks are one of the most easily recognized—and favored—shark species. Their “hammers” give them a widened-view to scan for food, and they have enhanced sensory organs that can detect electrical fields from their prey. If that doesn’t make hammerheads cool enough, they can grow to incredible sizes—reaching 20 feet in length and weighing up to 1,000 pounds.


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House Committee Approves Bill that Moves Fisheries Management Backward

Loggerhead sea turtle caught on a longline

A Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) caught on a longline in the Mediterranean. (Photo: Oceana / Mar Mas)

Responsible fisheries management took a hit today as the House Committee on Natural Resources passed a bill that threatens to undo the significant progress the United States has made in reversing the effects of decades of overfishing and making the U.S. a world leader in fisheries management. H.R. 4742, sponsored by committee chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA), would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), our nation’s primary fisheries management law.


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Reducing Bycatch Casualties, One Whale at a Time

(Photo: Howard Ignatius)

As mentioned in our recently released Wasted Catch report, whales, dolphins, porpoises and other marine life are victims of bycatch, which is the catch of non-target fish and marine animals. Whales can become entangled in nets or trail fishing lines and gear that wraps around their fins, causing injuries and distress as the animals struggle to swim and reach the surface for air.


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New Research Reveals Bycatch Hotspots

(Photo: Oceana \ Carlos Perez)

Out on the water, fishermen are notorious for both catching non-target fish and for entangling or killing many other marine animals, including dolphins, seals, whales, and sea turtles. Known as “bycatch,” these victims usually end up dead and thrown back overboard. The severity of the bycatch problem around the world has been uncertain, until now, because it can be difficult to gather data about just how many animals are caught as bycatch


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CEO Note: New Report Unveils Wasted Seafood

(Photo: Oceana)

We can all agree that wasting food is unacceptable. So why are U.S. fisheries allowed to throw away perfectly edible seafood? Many fisheries toss fish and other species overboard, usually dead or dying, simply because it’s not the type of seafood they are trying to catch. And the government allows this wasteful practice. A new Oceana report published this week reveals nine of our country’s most wasteful fisheries.


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Ask Dr. Pauly: What are bycatch and discards?

(Photo: Oceana)

Ocean conservationists talk a lot about "bycatch" and "discards." But what exacty do these terms mean? In each issue of Oceana magazine, fisheries scientist and Oceana board member Dr. Daniel Pauly breaks down a commonly used fisheries term. In the recent issue, Dr. Pauly explains these technical terms and how they contribue to overfishing. 


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Mexican Stingrays: Stranded or Discarded?

Photo: FELIX MARQUEZ/AP

The news is buzzing with stories about more than 250 stingrays that have stranded on beaches in the Mexican state of Veracruz three days ago. Mass strandings of any animal are analyzed carefully to determine if the strandings are indicators of environmental health. However, in the case of the stingrays, foul play is suspected by locals. There are reports that fishermen dumped these rays on the beach when emptying their nets.


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Destructive Fishing Gear Kills 400K+ Seabirds per Year

Hundreds of thousands of seabirds like this critically endangered waved albatross chick are snared and drowned by gillnets around the world every year. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“Walls of death.” Gillnets have often been described in this haunting way due to their devastating ability to catch all kinds of fish, as well as sea turtles, seals, dolphins, and even whales. Marine creatures of all sizes and species are indiscriminately snared and drowned in these death traps, and a recent report reveals that even birds are being killed by these sea nets. A study in the journal Biological Conservation reported that fishing vessels that deploy gillnets snare and drown at least 400,000 sea birds around the world every year. The actual figure could be even higher.


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Sawfish Designated as Endangered Species

The unique and magnificent sawfish gained new protections this week. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Sawfish have a reason to breathe a little easier today: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and has determined that five foreign species of sawfish meet the definition of “endangered” under the Act. Of course, this “victory” is bittersweet: no one is celebrating the fact that sawfish species are endangered, but rather that they now will finally receive the protections they so desperately need to recover their numbers.


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