It is vital that the seafood industry keeps focused on the issue of sustainability, not only for ecological reasons but to ensure the very survival of the seafood industry in the long term.
We take our responsibility seriously and the fishermen that supply us, know of our commitment to sustainability and our policies. They are not allowed to overfish and must adhere to fishing best practices so as to reduce bycatch.
Bycatch is when fishermen catch and dispose of fish or animals that they do not want. This can be because they are already over quota (there are strict maximum catch quotas for different species of fish with heavy fines for non compliance) or that the fish is not desirable for sale.
However, bycatch can also be marine animals such as seabirds or sea turtles which can be caught in their nets and sadly typically drown. Protected species such as sea turtles have dwindling populations and it is the responsibility of the seafood industry to utilize fishing methodologies to minimize bycatch.
The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association) Fisheries have formulated a 5 year National strategy to reduce bycatch which is currently being implemented. It is called the National Bycatch Reduction Strategy Implementation Plan and can be viewed here.
Sadly, not all countries have as strong a commitment to reducing bycatch and it is a major reason why all our seafood is caught in United States waters, by fishing vessels flying the United States flag and it is all processed in the United States.