LONDON – U.S. commercial fishermen are throwing away about $1 billion worth of edible fish each year, according to a conservation group that is advocating for incentives to stop the waste.
The quantity of so-called bycatch — fish that were caught inadvertently — is estimated by the U.S. government at 2 billion pounds (907,000 metric tons) a year. The study put a price on the bycatch reported by U.S. fisheries in 2010 and recently compiled by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The surprise was the quality of the bycatch that often is tossed back into the ocean dead or dying, said marine scientist Amanda Keledjian, author of the report from Oceana, a nonprofit international conservation group. “We’re throwing away meals,” Keledjian said.
Keledjian said fishermen throw away the unintended catch for several reasons, including lack of a permit to fish the species, quotas, size limit laws and the complication of processing an odd fish back at the dock.