Does anyone else find it odd that the Bering Sea pollock trawlers can catch and discard as bycatch over 100,000 king salmon per year while the small, community-based fishing effort has to shut down? That we haven't even managed to let enough kings by on the Yukon to meet our treaty obligation to the Canadians?It's real stupidity, and corruption in action, that's what it is. Bycatch waste has got to be the stupidest shortsighted cut-off-your-nose practice in the fishing industry. It costs fisherfolk a lot of effort, time, money, and bad press--but it's the bottom trawlers and big industrial-size factory fishing boats and nets that do the real damage. "Bycatch" is dead dolphins in the tuna harvest (finally got some protections there, after a long, long fight), king salmon in the pollack harvest, dead sea turtles, dead sharks, dead birds, and so on and so on....and it's a HUGE problem. According to Global Chefs magazine, something like 25% of all fisheries catch is wasted.
All so Americans can eat cheap fish sticks?
Bycatch.org has a database of bycatch reduction methods, and NOAA has a whole Fisheries Feature devoted to the issue.
But, as Global Chefs and others point out, consumer action can have quite an effect. And it's the big fleets and megacorps, not the little Yukon River villages, that do the most damage.
Here's an interesting article from March 1999 from the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations on the management issues regarding sustainability, with a good bit of background on the present problems.