Bycatch was brought to our attention again by Laine Welch in her recent fisheries article. Should fishing boats be dumping millions of dead or maimed fish overboard every year? Do we really need to waste ocean life and food when huge areas of ocean have been depleted of fish, when the waters are filled with toxins, microplastics and plastic items stressing and sickening all sea creatures?
The fish should be managed to continue to exist and feed us, not to just scoop them up until they are gone. Everyone must take responsibility to protect our fish stocks: the managers (North Pacific Fishery Management Council, in our case), the fishing boat companies, the fishermen and the citizens. Citizens need to be watchful of what is happening to our fish. Fortunately, we have people like Laine Welch to inform us via our newspaper. Her recent article didn’t cover salmon bycatch. I have heard we lose hordes of king salmon and the other species as well to bycatch. Wasting bycatch is unconscionable!
We need new, smarter, more reasonable solutions for dealing with the problem of the wrong fish being caught up in a net or line! Couldn’t two types of fishermen work together on one boat with two permits, so that limits are observed and fish are not wasted? Could two boats work together passing large bags of fish to each other on a cable and/or floats? Maybe the permitting system has to change. Maybe the trawling, dragging and longlining have to change.
There is no point in letting our fisheries be decimated by greed and stupidity. Dumping millions of dead fish over the side mustn’t continue. The whole system has to change, or we’re going to be reduced to eating farmed fish! Every species plays a role in our environment and habitat. Remember how migrating, spawning salmon deliver nutrients to our forests? To send fish off into extinction affects our whole planetary biosphere. We must protect our fish!
— Jean Eaton
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