Study Works to Uncover Fish Mortality Rate

Researchers are surprised by findings of just how many fish are dying after being inadvertently caught in the commercial fishing industry.


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A group of marine scientists from New England have found that a surprisingly low number of fish die when thrown back into the ocean after being caught by fishers. A study into the cod, haddock, and cusk of the Gulf of Maine is underway, but results so far have found that nine to 21 percent of cod caught as by-catch died after being thrown back. Government regulators base fishing-season quotas and restrictions off by-catch mortality rates, so while the the numbers may be modest compared to the 30 percent mortality estimate previously used throughout the industry, the more fish surviving being caught as by-catch means more incentive for fishing seasons to remain open longer with less regulations. The results have been verified in the cod population, are pending for haddock, and testing on cusk populations will start in 2017.

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