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Petitioning Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Dr. Jane Lubchenco
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Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)
Dr. Jane Lubchenco

Help Protect Oceans from Destructive Fishing Practices

7,525
Supporters

Irresponsible fishing practices are endangering fish, ocean habitat and marine wildlife.

Massive trawl nets destroy seafloor habitat, while other gears such as longlines, trawls and gillnets indiscriminately capture hundreds of thousands of marine mammals and sea turtles every year. For example, researchers estimate that 200,000 loggerhead and 50,000 leatherback sea turtles were caught worldwide by pelagic longline fishing gear in 2000 alone. Meanwhile, billions of pounds of unwanted fish are tossed back into the sea, dead or dying, every year. Globally, shrimp trawlers catch and throw back between five and ten pounds of dead marine life for every pound of shrimp landed.

Still, governments around the world continue to subsidize the overfishing of the seas. Government subsidies to the fishing sector total approximately $20 billion annually. These harmful subsidies push fishing fleets to fish much more intensively than would otherwise be possible. The world’s commercial fisheries are in trouble, and if current trends continue, they will be beyond recovery within decades.

Tell Dr. Jane Lubchenco - head of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) - to protect the ocean’s resources for future generations by implementing more responsible fishing policies.


Letter to
Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)  Dr. Jane Lubchenco
I’m extremely concerned about the depletion of the world’s oceans. Irresponsible commercial fishing practices are endangering our fish populations and wildlife, and governments around the world continue to subsidize the overfishing of the seas. I urge you to make responsible fishing a priority.

Untargeted or discarded catch, also known as bycatch, is an enormous problem throughout the world. Commercial fishing operations result in the waste of billion pounds of fish each year. For example, globally, shrimp trawlers catch and throw back between five and ten pounds of dead marine life for every pound of shrimp landed. In addition, hundreds of thousands of marine mammals, sea turtles and sea birds are caught every year by indiscriminate commercial fishing gears such as trawls and longlines. For example, researchers estimate that 200,000 loggerhead and 50,000 leatherback sea turtles were caught worldwide by pelagic longline fishing gear in 2000 alone.

Destructive bottom trawling, which is akin to forest clear-cutting, involves dragging gargantuan nets across the ocean floor, destroying deep sea corals and sponges – and anything else in the net’s path. Bottom trawls need to be kept out of areas with sensitive habitat.

Finally, government subsidies to the fishing sector, totaling approximately $20 billion annually, represent one of the principal forces driving the global overfishing crisis. These harmful subsidies push fishing fleets to fish much more intensively than would otherwise be possible.

We can’t afford to wait any longer: it’s time to do something about the crisis in our oceans. Please do your part to develop and implement responsible fishing policies to reduce bycatch, conserve ocean wildife, protect sensitive habitat and end the global overfishing crisis.