Commercial fishing is large-scale cruelty to animals. Every year, billions of animals are killed worldwide - many more than all other industries.
Huge ships as big as football fields are used by today's commercial fishers along with advanced electronic equipment for tracking fish. These huge vessels are able to stay up to six months at sea, with thousands of tons of fish stored onboard in gigantic freezers.
Our ocean ecosystems have been decimated by this industry. The huge numbers of fish that have been caught has resulted in 90 per cent of big fish populations being exterminated.
One of the most commonly used fishing methods is long-lining. As many as 50 miles of line are unreeled by ships containing hundreds of thousands of hooks with bait. They are dragged behind the ship at various depths or buoys are used to keep them afloat and left overnight to lure area animals looking for food. Once they are hooked some of these animals bleed to death or drown, while others struggle for many hours until the ship returns and reels them in.
Big fish like yellowfin tuna and swordfish, which each weigh hundreds of pounds, are pulled by the baited lines towards the ship. PIckaxes are sunk into the sides, fins, or even eyes of the animals by fishers -any part that allows them to haul the trapped animals onboard without the hook being ripped out.
Every year in just the U.S. territories, indiscriminate fishing methods like long-lining end up killing hundreds of thousands of untargeted fish, sharks, birds, dolphins, sea turtles, and other types of marine animals.
Gill nets range from 300 feet up to seven miles long. At the bottom, they are weighted, and floats on the top hold them upright to create what some call "walls of death." The netting cannot be seen by fish and they get stuck unless the mesh is bigger than them. When they attempt to back out, they are caught by their fins or gills by the netting and might suffocate. Others desperately struggle within the sharp mesh and resulting in them bleeding to death.
Once gills nets have been set out they are not monitored, so trapped fish might suffer for many days. Some bleed to death prior to the ship returning to remove them from the ocean. The fish who manage to survive to the deck are ripped by hand from the net and cut open while they are still alive or they end up suffocating. Fish that are caught from the ocean's depths suffer from decompression. Extreme pressure changes can cause their eyes to bulge from their heads and their stomachs forced from their mouths.
Using a purse seine is another fishing method that is used. It is the main net that is used to catch tuna and used as well for catching various other species of fish. The public has become outraged by this method since dolphins get caught in these nets sometimes. However, millions of tuna are also killed by purse seines. These are intelligent animals that can feel pain as much as dolphins can.
In the past, to catch tuna, pods of dolphins were tracked by fishers who often swim with big tuna. A net was dropped into the water to surround a school of tuna. These days, instead of following dolphins, fish aggregating devices are used by many commercial fishers and float rafts under which sharks, fish, and other marine animals - which include rays and sea turtles - have a tendency to congregate. The net edges are then cinched together slowly, which traps hundreds of tuna (weighing 6 to 40 pounds each) - along with other animals nearby - in the net. it is then drawn up like a laundry bag and closed.