US fishermen throw back 20% of their catch—often after the fish are already injured or dead

March 21, 2014 11:49 PM

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Each year, the 41 Alaskan trawlers licensed to sift the seas for flatfish—such as flounder and sole—haul back around $6 million worth of fish. Boat space is limited, so fishermen save it for only the priciest fish. That means the less-valuable fish go back over the side, along with the hundreds of other sea creatures that these fishermen can’t sell back on land, because they’re funny-tasting, too small, simply wrong kind of fish, or even an endangered species.

By the time they’re tossed back, many of these animals are already dead (pdf, p.7). Just how destructive is this practice?

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