Bycatch is the unintended catch of commercial fishing activities that often result in huge amounts of fish and other ocean life being thrown back, dead or dying.
Enormous trawl nets scoop up virtually everything in their path; immature and adult fish, as well as sea turtles, marine mammals and sharks, are captured on the 1.4 billion baited hooks set in longline fisheries every year.
Under existing laws, the federal government is required to reduce bycatch and the deaths of the unintentionally captured fish, birds and animals. But the steps taken by the National Marine Fisheries Service -- the federal agency responsible for the management of U.S. fisheries -- have been grossly inadequate.
Oceana is calling on the federal government to address bycatch as is required under existing law and immediately implement three critical measures to end wasteful fishing practices: count, cap and control.