Here's the Catch

Want to know whether the fish you are buying was sustainably harvested? Find out how it was caught; there are good methods and not-so-good methods.

Hook and line: This low-impact method of fishing does no damage to the seafloor and lets fishermen throw back unwanted species, usually in time for them to live.

Pots and traps: Intelligently designed traps have doors that allow young fish to escape. Skilled fishermen can lay pots so that they have minimal impact on the seafloor.

Midwater trawlers: These boats drag giant nets below the surface and can unintentionally catch significant numbers of forage fish, sea turtles, dolphins and even whales. They do cause less habitat damage than bottom trawlers because the nets generally avoid the ocean floor.

Longlines: This method involves fishing lines that are often miles long with thousands of hooks. The lines can kill sea turtles and birds.

Bottom trawlers: These giant nets essentially clear-cut the ocean floor, killing everything from sea urchins, coral and forage fish to 150-year-old orange roughy, sea turtles, dolphins and whales. They cause harm to overfished species and young fish, diminshing prospects for the future.

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