Wherever thereis fishing, there is bycatch. Unintentionally, commercial fishing activities oftencatch species or individuals that are not wanted by fishers. The modern mechanismsto fish are very efficient to catch the desired fish but also anything else inits path; a huge amount of marine life including vulnerable animals such as sea turtles, sharks andrays. In the bottom, trawling can also damage sea-bed habitats causingconflicts with coastal small-scale fisheries.
All of them are hauled up withthe catch, and, consequently,after catching the undesirable species, they have to be discarded overboardoften get several injured and die as a result of their interactions with thefishing vessels.The practice ismostly driven by political or regulatory factors in which the species cannot be retained due to themanagement or quota restrictions. These regulations also dictate the amount of fish (TotalAllowable Catch or quota), the proportion of species and the size of fish(minimum landing size) that can be landed. Also it is driven by the economicfactors, deciding the species that are no commercial, with a low-value inmarkets or because they are in damaged (unlawful activity). It is estimatedthat over 300,000 small whales, dolphins, and porpoises die from entanglementin fishing nets each year (Brian J.Skerry,National Geographic Stock / WWF, 2017) making this the singlelargest cause of mortality for small cetaceans.
Nevertheless, in this day and age, marine life arevaluable to society and thus damage from bycatch is collectively borne bysociety. This has motivated governments, conservation organizationsand the general public worldwide to get involved in finding effective tools toreduce the volume of bycatch associated with commercial fishing.Fishing industry leaders increasingly realize the needto reduce this phenomenon. Proven solutions do exist, such as modifying fishinggear so that fewer non-target species are caught or can escape. In many cases,these modifications are simple and inexpensive, and often come from fishersthemselves.