As a by-catch those fish and other marine animals are in fisheries referred to, which are indeed caught in the net or other fishing gear mass, but not the actual target catch of fishing. The catch is utilized in part, but for the most part thrown overboard as waste (technical term Discard or discards) again. For bycatch occurs on the one hand due to non-selective fishing techniques, on the other hand but also due to non-sustainable fisheries management. So the fishermen some fish can not land due to legal provisions, even if they were recyclable. Frequently not survive the beige captured fish and other species to catch and discards or be seriously injured. Also, whales, dolphins, seals, sea turtles, seabirds, sharks and stingrays die as bycatch.

Estimated catch numbers

According to the WWF fall per year, about 300,000 whales, 300,000 seabirds, several million sharks and 250,000 sea turtles fishing for victims. The catch limit in the Shrimpfischerei makes up 80 percent from the catch. In the North Sea particularly much bycatch is discarded. One third of the catch is thrown overboard as waste annually. These are a million tonnes of fish and other marine animals. In some fishing areas the sea is so severely damaged by the catch that entire ecosystems are affected. Catches go into no catch statistics. They are not included in the calculation of quotas. Greenpeace estimates go from 39 million tonnes worldwide annual bycatch of (annual fishing income in 2003 about 140 million tons worldwide). Among them are 650,000 seals. In South Korea, a hundred times more dolphins and whales as so-called bycatch go in the nets than in those countries that do not trade in whale meat. It is believed that the South Koreans to circumvent the ban on commercial whaling.

Fishing methods and victims

In various different methods of fishing by-catch is pulled on board the ships. Seabirds often get caught on the hooks of longlines. They eat the bait or the fish that hang on the lines, can not free themselves and drown from the hooks. According to NABU every year (2011) die alone by the fleets of the EU Member States, more than 200,000 seabirds in fishing nets. In demersal trawl catch not only fish. There are also caught mussels, starfish, sponges and jellyfish.

Ways to reduce bycatch

One way to reduce bycatch, are sounder. These pingers emit sounds and are intended to deter dolphins. There already exist nets with escape valves for dolphins and other non-target species. Sea turtles are not so often caught when the networks complained of Shrimpfischer with steel weights. Longline fishing for tuna by-catch of sea turtles by differently shaped crook (so-called Circle Hooks ) can be reduced by up to 90 percent. Significantly fewer seabirds are caught with longlines, if you otherwise fastened the hooks.

Through the selective fishing, the fishermen limited to a specific species of fish.

Utilization of by-catch

Whether catches shall be used or not depends on the national legislation. So fishermen must bring in Norway the whole catch in the harbor, in the EU and other countries is considered an incidental catch ban, which states that by-catch must be thrown overboard.

BirdLife International in Europe calls on the EU Commission to effectively reduce the " catch " of European fisheries. The European Commission has in 2010 started to develop an action plan for reducing seabird bycatch. Nature conservation organizations referring to easy to implement technological protection measures approximately in the longline fishery, which would be applied by countries such as South Africa and Norway a long time.

The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation created its own studies on the German Baltic coast and developed proposals for the future management of fisheries in marine protected areas. NABU asked in this context: "Member States must provide the much-needed money in order to collect catch data and to develop environmentally friendly fishing techniques. " Fishermen who use these techniques are to be rewarded according to the proposal of the NABU, such as having a preferred access to fish stocks or increased quotas.

On February 6, 2013, the European Parliament supported a ban on the return of the litter -catch.