Did you know that buying American seafood could save a whale?
A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council finds that 91% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported and nearly every wild-caught foreign fish product sold in the U.S. violates the Marine Mammal Protection Act, endangering the lives of marine mammals around the world.
Countries exporting fish to America are supposed to prove they use safe methods to catch fish destined for the U.S. market. But for decades the U.S. has failed to enforce this law. That means whales, dolphins and sea lions are at risk, and American fishermen who invest in safer methods have a disadvantage in the marketplace.
It works like this. Commercial fishing fleets target species for the global market, including American consumers. They go after the seafood we love to eat like shrimp, salmon, tuna, crab, and lobster, setting traps and casting gillnets, purse seines, trawls and longlines. But in the course of catching the target species, they often entangle, trap and hook other animals like non-target fish, seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals. It’s a tragedy for those animals caught in the wrong place and the wrong time — collateral damage that may cause some populations to go extinct.