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Commercial fishermen in the U.S. annually throw overboard as much as 2 billion pounds of so-called bycatch

Why 500 Million U.S. Seafood Meals Get Dumped In The Sea : The Salt : NPR

According to a released Thursday by the environmental group Oceana, commercial fishermen in the U.S. annually throw overboard as much as 2 billion pounds of so-called bycatch, much of which is edible fish equivalent to at least a half-billion seafood meals. Incredibly, much of this waste includes some of the most valuable — and delectable — seafood species in the world, like bluefin tuna, swordfish and Pacific halibut.

The report, compiled from data from the National Marine Fisheries Service, a federal agency, singles out the nine most wasteful fisheries in the U.S., who were responsible for 340 million pounds of bycatch in 2011. The "dirtiest" fisheries include the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawling industry; the California drift gillnet fishery, which targets halibut and white sea bass; and the longline fishery for red snapper and grouper. Gillnetted Pacific swordfish, Atlantic swordfish caught on longlines, and cod, haddock, monkfish and flounder caught by North Atlantic trawlers also come from fisheries on the list

The reason these fisheries are throwing away so many fish? It's mainly the types of commercial gear they're using, which are designed to catch as many fish as possible, says Oceana.

And if you've eaten U.S. shrimp, halibut or red snapper, there's a good chance it has come from one of these fisheries. Their fish and shrimp are sold in markets and restaurants across the U.S. and around the world, according to Gib Brogan, the fisheries campaign manager with Oceana.

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Oh, what awful waste. 

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