Did you know that tuna fishing boats in the Pacific use fish aggregating devices (FAD) to facilitate their work and secure their catch? This are floating objects purposefully jettisoned overboard to attract fish on the surface of the wide open space of the Pacific Ocean. Having been used for centuries by artisanal fishermen, the modern kind comes with sonar and satellite buoys attached, which can tell the captain of a modern fishing vessel exactly what’s swimming underneath the objects from thousands of kilometers away. Some of them are equipped with a radio beacon and left to float, others have got a more than 4 kilometers long anchor chain to be anchored to the bottom of the sea. An entire ecosystem develops there over several months (conveniently during the five months of each year that the boats are banned from fishing there to protect juvenile tuna) – until the boats come back and catch them all – including sharks, turtles and juvenile fish.
Killed alongside the skipjack tuna that finds itself in your tin is almost the entire cast list of Finding Nemo.—Charles Clover, author of The End of The Line
This practice isn’t illegal – but leaves a sour taste.