Skip to main content

Battling Bycatch

A loggerhead turtle swims free of a fish net using an excluder device. 

A loggerhead turtle swims free of a fish net using an excluder device. 

When shrimpers drag a net behind them in the ocean, they catch not just shrimp, but also all sorts of other species — from octopi to sponges. The nets can also entangle marine animals such as dolphins and turtles. Whatever it is that ends up in the net is called bycatch, and NOAA is on a mission to reduce the harmful effects of both commercial and recreational angling on non-target species.

New regulations require many commercial fishing operations to fit their nets with “exclusion” devices that funnel turtles, dolphin and other species away from the net where they can swim free. NOAA has an entire team that works solely on developing fishing gear that catches more of the target species and fewer of the unwanted ones that end up being tossed back dead into the ocean.

NOAA is also working with recreational anglers to promote safer catch-and-release practices that reduce mortality in the fish that anglers put back into the water. These include using circle hooks and utilizing devices that help deep-water species survive pressure sickness. This video has more on NOAA’s efforts.

You can find out more about what you can do to help, both as a consumer or as an angler, by visiting NOAA’s bycatch website.  



VIDEO: Think You Know Sharks?

A new NOAA Fisheries video has advice for anglers who go shark fishing, including the importance of identifying the sharks they can keep and those they must release.

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 4.03.29 PM

VIDEO: The Lonely Life Of A Swordfish

A popular target among anglers, the swordfish is a solitary billfish that can be found as deep as 1,800 feet below the surface. Equipped with huge, softball-size eyes that allow it to see in the darkness of the abyss, swordfish use their broad, sword-like bills to slash and stun prey. This NOAA video shows a swordfish at 1,739 feet doing just that.

Screen Shot 2018-02-26 at 12.32.22 PM

VIDEO: A Global Issue

Whether it’s a light switch, the polyester fiber in your comforter or the packaging your fast-food came in, plastic is virtually impossible to avoid in the modern world. And millions of tons of it ends up in our oceans each year. This video from Vice News has more on the crisis and what is being done to combat the problem.


VIDEO: Shipwrights: The Next Generation

Luke Powell is leading a team of boatbuilders who are crafting a recreation of a 68-foot Falmouth Pilot Cutter named Vincent, which was originally launched in 1852. The goal of the project is to train up aspiring young shipwrights in the traditional methods required to build these graceful wooden sailboats.


No Butt Shucking!

Curtis “Fuzzy” Wilson knows a thing or two about oysters — he’s been shucking them professionally for 35 years. The Virginia native spends the Chesapeake Bay oyster season shucking several bushels of the stubborn bivalves each day, reminding rookies to never open an oyster up from the rear, a shucking faux pas known as “butt shucking.”


10 Billion Oysters

A single oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day, making the bivalve a critical puzzle piece in the effort to clean up Chesapeake Bay. Twenty groups, ranging from oyster farmers to research organizations, plan to boost the Chesapeake Bay’s oyster population to 10 billion by 2025, improving the Bay’s water quality in the process.


Building Arabella By Hand

Plenty of people might call friends Stephen Denette and Alix Kreder crazy. The two are building a 38-foot Atkins ketch in their backyard — from the keel up, using trees they felled and milled themselves.


VIDEO: Flipping Out

One of the most momentous events in a cold-molded sportfish boat’s life is when the builder flips the hull from upside-down to right-side-up. Watch as a crane makes easy work of turning over a 63-foot Paul Mann Custom Boats sportfish hull.