FAO releases guidelines for fish bycatch management

The first global guidelines to manage and reduce the amount of fish caught unintentionally have been released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Fishers need new ways to catch only target fish.

The Global Guidelines for Bycatch Management and Reduction of Fishing Discards were agreed by fisheries experts from 35 countries who met at FAO Headquarters in Rome.

Derrick Mbatha reports.

The guidelines cover all types of bycatch, including discards, that is, fish that are caught accidentally and then thrown back into the sea either dead or dying.

FAO says that unmanaged bycatch and discards threaten the long term sustainability of many fisheries and adversely affect the livelihoods of millions of fishers and fish workers.

According to the agency, current bycatch may be in excess of 20 million tonnes a year.

FAO also points out that bycatch may also include endangered species, juvenile fish, turtles, seabirds and dolphins.

Derrick Mbatha, at the United Nations.

(duration: 46″)

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