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Discards and Bycatch

Common Fisheries Policy: Discards and Bycatch

Discards and bycatch are two problems that are closely related. Bycatch is the portion of the catch that is not comprised of the fishery’s target species and the FAO defines discards as the portion of the catch that is thrown back into the sea.

Accomplishments

December, 2012

E.U. Parliament Votes to Curb Overfishing

After 18 months of negotiations, the Fisheries Committee of the EU parliament voted to put in place new measures that would effectively end overfishing and greatly improve the way the EU manages its fisheries, which have been historically poor managed and overfished. In recent years, the majority of its scientifically-assessed fisheries have been found to be overexploited. The measures supported by MEPs include an obligation to set catch limits above maximum sustainable yield levels by 2015, in order for stocks to recover by 2020, and a clear ban on discards. Oceana has been campaigning for these changes for years. The new reforms now go to a vote before the entire European Parliament. 

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July, 2011

Court Rules in Favor of Oceana on Bycatch

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Oceana in a suit that will require commercial fisheries from North Carolina to the Canadian border to monitor and report the amount of bycatch, or untargeted marine life, they discard. The decision is a triumph against one of the biggest problems facing our oceans today. Tons of fish are wasted and thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks and sea birds are injured or killed every year as bycatch.

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July, 2011

Tribunal de Alta Instancia decide a favor de Oceana sobre las capturas accidentales

El Tribunal de Apelación de los Estados Unidos falló a favor de Oceana en un litigio que solicita que las pesquerías comerciales desde Carolina del Norte hasta la frontera canadiense monitoreen y reporten la cantidad de capturas accidentales que descartan. La decisión es un triunfo en uno de los problemas más grandes a los que se enfrentan nuestros océanos hoy en día.  Toneladas de peces son descartados y miles de animales marinos, tortugas de mar, tiburones y pájaros resultan heridos o mueren cada año como resultado de las capturas accidentales.

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July, 2011

Court Rules in Favor of Oceana on Bycatch

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Oceana in a suit that will require commercial fisheries from North Carolina to the Canadian border to monitor and report the amount of bycatch, or untargeted marine life, they discard. The decision is a triumph against one of the biggest problems facing our oceans today. Tons of fish are wasted and thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks and sea birds are injured or killed every year as bycatch.

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November, 2009

Increasing U.S. Observer Funding

Oceana’s ongoing efforts to increase funding for the fishery observer program continue to produce results. Observers are trained monitors who count everything that is caught by a fishing vessel, including discarded fish, sea turtles and marine mammals. Observers are our eyes on the ocean and provide important information for fishery managers. In 2009, Congress appropriated $32.7 million to the observer program. For 2010, the observer program received $41.1 million, an increase of $8.4 million more than 2009.

June, 2008

Protecting king salmon

The world’s largest fishery, Alaska’s pollock industry, accidentally catches and kills king salmon, an important species both commercially and ecologically. Accidentally killing and catching non-targeted species is known as “bycatch,” and 7 million kg of unwanted and wasted fish are thrown back into the water every year. After pressure from Oceana and its allies, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council moved forward in June on capping salmon bycatch in the pollock fishery.

January, 2005

Doubling funding for fishery observers

Thanks largely to Oceana’s efforts, the U.S. Congress doubled the funding available for fishery observer programs in the 2004 federal budget from approximately $14 million to more than $29 million. This included significant increases for Oceana’s top regional priorities, the New England and west coast groundfish fisheries. Since then, Oceana’s efforts have successfully maintained these funding levels despite significant cuts in many areas of the federal budget.

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