Should we be able to see what bycatch is caught in our oceans?

Bycatch – Canada is not alone when it comes to poor management in the catch of non-target fish and ocean wildlife, which results in unnecessary waste and harm to sea life.

Up to 10.3 million tonnes of sea life is unintentionally caught each year around the world, captured in nets, lines and other gear. Some of this is kept and sold, or released safely; but far too much is put back in the ocean, either dead or dying.

In Canada, this includes endangered and threatened species like whales, turtles, sharks and fish. For example, an estimated 1,200 endangered loggerhead turtles are caught each year on pelagic long lines in the swordfish fishery, states Oceana Canada.

BBC is now reporting that New Zealand, in an attempt to better measure the impact of its “bycatch” on endangered wildlife, is proposing putting security cameras on fishing boats.

But New Zealand’s fishing industry says such footage should be withheld from the public, fearing it might be misunderstood, or misused as propaganda.

Should we have cameras on Canadian commercial fishing boats to see what is being caught?