One of the fish issues that is most common in our own North Sea is by-catch. But what does this concept mean? As an example, we take a fisherman who fishes for sole and plaice.
A fisherman likes to catch sole or plaice, as these flatfish have a high market value and are therefore popular among fishermen. The fisherman uses a trawl net to catch them. Because the sole has a slim model, the mesh sizes (the holes) in the net are relatively small which makes it difficult for by-catch species to escape.
By-catch usually has a lower market value and is often thrown back into the sea. This is also called ‘discarding’. The survival rate of these discards is only 15 to 30%, making it a form of food waste. Part of the by-catch that is taken ashore goes to the fish auction. The other part is exported abroad or used for fishmeal and fish oil.
Click here if you want to know exactly which fish species are underused and specified as ‘by-catch’.