Bycatch—the catch of non-target species—is a complex, global issue that threatens the sustainability of our fishing communities, economies, and ocean ecosystems. Learn how we work to develop, test, and adopt gears that reduce bycatch in U.S. fisheries.
Join us for Bycatch Reduction Week, August 22–26, 2022, as we focus on the development, testing, and adoption of gears that reduce bycatch in U.S. fisheries. Bycatch can be fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds that become hooked or entangled in fishing gear, and that fishermen do not want, cannot sell, or are not allowed to keep.
NOAA Fisheries is committed to minimizing bycatch in U.S. fisheries to ensure our fisheries are sustainable and protected species are given the best chance to recover. We use science and technology to develop innovative solutions to help reduce bycatch in commercial fisheries. Along with the fishing industry and other partners, we accurately monitor and estimate bycatch and research and develop tools to reduce bycatch of non-target fish.
To reduce bycatch, NOAA Fisheries invests in technological innovations that make fishing gear more selective and that helps fishermen target the fish they can and want to sell. We also invest in technology that increases the chance of survival for animals caught alive that are released. Explore the features below to learn more about our bycatch reduction efforts.
Bycatch Reduction Features
Reducing Bycatch Through Decades of Research and Innovation
NOAA researchers are recognized internationally for their expertise in reducing sea turtle bycatch using real time Turtle Excluder Device testing. Read more about how NOAA is reducing Turtle bycatch: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/reducing-bycatch-through-decades-research-and-innovation
New Rule Focuses on Improving Survival of Hooked Oceanic Whitetip Sharks
NOAA is prohibiting wire leaders in the Hawaiʻi deep-set longline fishery. The measure is estimated to increase the survival of threatened oceanic whitetips by more than 30 percent. Read more about how NOAA is reducing whitetip bycatch: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/new-rule-focuses-improving-survival-hooked-oceanic-whitetip-sharks
Approval of Selective Gear for Small-mesh Fisheries: The Large-mesh Belly Panel
We approved a new selective trawl gear, the large-mesh belly panel, for use in small-mesh fisheries when the fisheries accountability measure for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder is triggered. Use of the large-mesh belly panel reduces bycatch of groundfish species of concern, such as yellowtail flounder. Learn more about the large-mesh belly panel here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/bulletin/approval-selective-gear-small-mesh-fisheries-large-mesh-belly-panel
Lights, Camera, Bycatch–LEDs Light the Way for Chinook Salmon
The development of efficient, cost-effective light-emitting diode technology has led to a growing list of innovative residential and industrial applications. Find out more about the LED technology here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/west-coast/bycatch/lights-camera-bycatch-leds-light-way-chinook-salmon
The story continues here: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/bycatch-reduction-week