America’s Worst Fisheries Exposed: Turtles, Sharks, Dolphins Suffering

A report released by the conservation group Oceana this week exposed the nine worst fisheries in the U.S., which, combined, are responsible for over 50 percent of reported bycatch in the country, including turtles, seals, sharks, dolphins and whales -- many of them endangered species.

And despite the high numbers of bycatch and discarded fish, these wasteful fisheries only bring in about 7 percent of the fish and seafood that is for sale.

"Hundreds of thousands of dolphins, whales, sharks, sea birds, sea turtles and fish needlessly die each year as a result of indiscriminate fishing gear," said Amanda Keledjian, report author and marine scientist at Oceana, in a release. "It's no wonder that bycatch is such a significant problem, with trawls as wide as football fields, long lines extending up to 50 miles with thousands of baited hooks and gillnets up to two miles long. But there is hope, researchers say. In recent years, fisheries scientists have developed several methods that dramatically reduce bycatch.

"The solution can be as simple as banning the use of drift gillnets, transitioning to proven cleaner fishing gears, requiring Turtle Excluder Devices in trawls, or avoiding bycatch hotspots," said Dr. Geoff Shester, California program director at Oceana. "Proven solutions and innovative management strategies can significantly reduce the unnecessary deaths of sharks, sea turtles, dolphins and other marine life, while maintaining vibrant fisheries."

You can find a complete list of the worst fisheries in the U.S. here.