Millions of tonnes of dead animals: the growing scandal of fish waste – Rights History
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Millions of tonnes of dead animals: the growing scandal of fish waste

Dumped at sea, lost on land or left to rot in shops and fridges, the global catch of fish is being wasted like never before – hurting not only the oceans but the nutrition of billions of people. Can it be reversed?

In February 2022, a Dutch-owned fishing trawler released a silvery stream of 100,000 dead fish, which carpeted several thousand square metres of ocean off the coast of France. The vessel’s owners blamed the discharge on a faulty net. Environmental groups alleged that the fish were intentionally dumped.

Whatever the truth, that spectacle of squandered sea life was the tip of the iceberg: figures from WWF show that in 2019, at least 230,000 tonnes of fish were dumped in EU waters. Most of the waste – 92% – is related to bottom-trawling, a fishing method that scrapes the seafloor, indiscriminately scooping up everything in its path.

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