40 percent of fish caught across the globe are wasted or from at-risk species

April 15th, 2009 - 3:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Edinburgh, April 15 (ANI): In a new research, scientists have determined that 40 percent of fish caught across the world is discarded or comes from unsustainable sources.

According to the research paper, co-authored by conservation charity WWF more than 38 million tonnes of fish caught globally can be defined as by-catch.

The researchers came up with a new definition of by-catch, to include fish from unmanaged stocks, as well as those that end up being unused.

It puts levels of by-catch up to five times higher than previous estimates, which have ranged from seven to 27 million tonnes annually.

The report estimated by-catch levels in the north-east Atlantic were as high as 20 per cent due to “extremely high discard rates”.

The report, ‘Defining and Estimating Global Marine Fisheries By-catch’, said, “Many north-east Atlantic fisheries have extremely high discard rates, particularly from the bottom-trawling fleet, which generates far more by-catch than marketable fish.”

WWF Scotland suggested this was due to factors such as use of non-selective fishing gear, market demands and quota limitations.

“The health of our oceans cannot be restored or fisheries sustainably managed if 40 per cent of the global catch is unused or unmanaged,” Amanda Nickson, leader of WWF’s By-catch Initiative and co-author of the paper, told The Scotsman.

“A huge quantity of fish and marine animals are thrown back into the sea dead or dying. Even if this by-catch is retained, there is no way of telling whether it was sustainable to remove it from the sea in the first place,” she added. (ANI)

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