By partnering with WWF to find solutions to fisheries bycatch , seafood companies can address the major impacts of this wasteful practice, leading ultimately to Marine Stewardship Council certification.
Joining their calls, international management forums call for the use of more environmentally-responsible fishing methods.
Now, seafood industries in the Coral Triangle have the opportunity to create solutions for reducing bycatch while keeping their businesses viable.
Supporting the adoption and use of gear solutions such as circle hooks, for example, is a “win-win” solution (see our case study).
Why? These hooks do not negatively impact target catch and can show a company’s proactive response to conservation and sustainability issues.
The use of Turtle Excluder Devices and/or other excluding devices can significant reduce impacts on marine turtles and provide better overall management together with the adoption of best practices.
Solutions to reduce bycatch also exist for shrimp trawls
Such approaches can also reduce the amount of unmanaged “trash fish” indiscriminately harvested along with the shrimp, making these fisheries more responsible.
There are many obstacles. But WWF knows from experience that all of these solutions are feasible to implement if all actors—industry, fishers, government and the conservation community—seriously address the issue together.
A growing list of industry players are now working with WWF on solutions that address conservation and sustainability issues, without compromising their profit margins.
- Identify common objectives for bycatch reduction and best practices for fisheries relevant to your business
- Test and trial gear solutions, monitoring their effectiveness and relative impacts on key threatened species such as marine turtles and sharks
- Partner in awareness-raising and training programs with fishing communities, including at-sea methods for the recovery and release of threatened or endangered marine life
- Collaborate on onboard vessel observer programmes in selected fisheries, aimed at a more comprehensive understanding of bycatch and prescriptions for more responsible management
- Develop links at key ports/processing plants, cultivating interest and involvement among vessel captains, owners and plant managers
"We are very pleased to have WWF as our partner towards sustainable fishing, including circle hook and observer program trials with tuna longline vessels to reduce bycatch of turtles."
SE Asia Representative for Anova Food
© Broadbill swordfish (Xiphias gladius) dead in fishing net. The net is used for Bluefin tuna in a Mattanza fishery (ancient fishing ritual). Swordfish are sometimes caught by accident (bycatch). San Pietro, Italy. © Brian J. Skerry/National Geographic Stock/WWF
© Circle Hook. © WWF / Jill Hatzai