NOAA: Enact regulations that require fisheries to mark fishing gear with electronic tags
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Currently, there are somewhere between 640,000-700,000 tons of fishing nets being left in our oceans each year. That's the equivalent of dumping over 9,400 Boeing 737 airplanes into the oceans every year. According to the World Animal Protection Organization, this results in over 136,000 whales, dolphins and turtles getting caught in the lost, discarded or abandoned gear.
Without proper identification, there is no consistent way to identify the owners of the gear that is being lost or abandoned. This makes it much harder to hold companies accountable.
Because of all of this information, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is considering adopting guidelines to tag all commercial fishing gear before 2025. However, there have been no such regulations from the United States government. The effects of these lax regulations are being felt from the Pacific Coast to the Florida Keys. The major concern is the amount of unwanted marine animals that are swept up in these massive sprawling nets. Ironically, this has a negative impact on the fisheries themselves, as there have been an estimated 5-30% decline in some fish stocks caused by abandoned gear.
This is especially problematic to all marine wildlife around the U.S. as well as to anyone that cares about marine wildlife. The silver lining to all of this is that it is achievable to mandate commercial fishing gear be tagged in the United States and provide some kind of accountability to the fishing industry.
Help support the cause to end the irresponsible dumping employed by the fishing industry and force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to take action.
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