Showing posts tagged as "bycatch"

Here’s looking at you! This striped burrfish—as striking as it may be—is unwanted “bycatch” from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. It’s highlighted in our exhibit in the Open Sea wing called “An Accidental Catch.”
Learn more
Want to help? Choose only sustainably caught shrimp from the U.S. by using our Seafood Watch recommendations. 

Here’s looking at you! This striped burrfish—as striking as it may be—is unwanted “bycatch” from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. It’s highlighted in our exhibit in the Open Sea wing called “An Accidental Catch.”

Learn more

Want to help? Choose only sustainably caught shrimp from the U.S. by using our Seafood Watch recommendations

Are these French grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum) in our bycatch exhibit arguing or affectionate? We invite your creative caption! 
Learn more about our bycatch exhibit and why it’s important to limit accidentally caught species. 
(Thanks to visitor Sam Lopez!)

Are these French grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum) in our bycatch exhibit arguing or affectionate? We invite your creative caption! 

Learn more about our bycatch exhibit and why it’s important to limit accidentally caught species. 

(Thanks to visitor Sam Lopez!)

These Species are No Accident

Our exhibit in the Open Sea wing called “An Accidental Catch”  includes some very striking fishes that also happen to get snared as bycatch in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.

“What we’re showing are species that get caught in nets with the shrimp ,” says Curator of Husbandry Operations Steve Vogel. “They’re also really cool animals, like the striped burrfish, which looks like a golf ball with spines; and the bighead sea robin, which looks like a giant mouth with wings.

“Some are really personable, and some are just plain funky. But what they have in common is that they’re useless to commercial fishermen.”

All about Bycatch

Fishing nets and longline hooks set to catch our favorite seafood—like shrimp and swordfish—often snare open-sea fishes, sharks, seabirds, turtles and marine mammals. Shrimp operations worldwide have one of the highest bycatch rates of all fisheries.

“When you buy wild-caught shrimp, these fish and other small animals are what’s caught along with the shrimp,” says Steve. “Everything in the net but the shrimp is swept overboard to die, or cut up for bait.”

So why does it matter if such fish are removed in large numbers, anyway?

“You’re taking out mid-level predators,” says Steve. “Those are the species that larger animals—like sharks—feed on. And species lower in the food web no longer have natural predators.  Removing these bycatch species throws the whole ecosystem out of balance.”

Fortunately, U.S. fishermen are required to use measures like the Turtle Excluder Device (TED), which lets sea turtles escape from the net while still allowing the fishery to retain target species, like shrimp. (Watch a TED in action.)

Consumers can help by choosing only sustainably caught shrimp from the U.S, by using our Seafood Watch recommendations.

Species shown in photographs include the Spotfin mojarra (Eucinostomus argenteus), bighead sea robin (Prionotus tribulus), striped burrfish (Chilomycterus schoepfii ), and the commercially targeted species, southern pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus notialis).

Other species on exhibit include scrawled cowfish (Acanthostracion quadricornis) and French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum).

(Striped burrfish photo courtesy Liz Marchiondo; all others Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder.)

About me

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, perched on the edge of a world-famous coastline, is your window to the wonders of the ocean. It’s located on historic Cannery Row in Monterey and is open daily except Christmas Day.

For more information about our animals and exhibits, and to view our live web cams, please visit www.montereybayaquarium.org.

Hours of operation vary by season. Daily schedules and tickets are available on our website or by calling
(831) 648-4800.