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Choose hook and line-caught fish

By Shomik Ghosh |
Stray nets from fishing boats trap dolphins, turtles, and other sea life, while large commercial trawlers disrupt ocean floor ecosystems and result in unnecessary bycatch.
Choosing hook and line-caught fish, also called line-caught or pole-caught, encourages demand for a sustainable, bycatch-free seafood market by avoiding harmful practices like trawling and netting.

How to choose hook and line-caught fish

  1. Retailers and restaurants that supply line-caught fish can be found by searching for a species or a particular fishery in the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program or the Seafood Choices Alliance. If there aren't any near you, inform local stores/restaurants that you would like to see sustainable, line-caught fish offered.
  2. Look for eco-labeling, such as the Marine Stewardship Council certification, which should ensure that your fish, line-caught or otherwise, came from a sustainable and non-destructive fishery.[1] You can also get seafood info while on the go with the Environmental Defense Fund's Seafood Selector To-Go! Also, research eco-labels to ensure that they are from independent sources.
  3. Be aware that some types of longline fishing result in high-mortality bycatch for sharks when the lines are not checked regularly.[2] Also, other species of fish, sea turtles, and birds can can be caught with longline fishing.[3] Ask your supplier what their methods of seafood capture entail. For more information on longlines, see below.

Choosing hook and line-caught fish helps you go green because…

  • The ecosystem which contains that particular species will remain intact, and biodiversity will not suffer as a result of bycatch from netting and trawling.
  • Line-caught fish can easily be returned to the sea if they are too small to harvest, helping to sustain populations.
Footnotes
  1. Organic Consumers Association - Seafood Trade Group Supports Ecolabeling
  2. Blue Ocean Institute - Shark-Longline Interactions
  3. Earthjustice - Bluefin Tuna: Vanishing Act
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