Bycatch Raining Down From Above
Guitarfish, rays, and other bycatch are tossed from a shrimp boat in La Paz, Mexico in 2006. Many species caught as bycatch are never monitored, and, insofar as they have important roles in the marine ecosystem, the depletion of their populations reverberate throughout the living community. The loss of millions of small coastal sharks to shrimp trawls and gillnets in the Gulf of Mexico has no doubt altered that environment. Nine out of ten sharks caught in longline fisheries are unwanted and wastefully discarded. Bycatch accounted for the loss of 40,000 undersized north Atlantic swordfish to longlines in 1996 alone.