Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, during a House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife hearing, a spokesperson for fishing giant Trident Seafood balked at the notion that the company’s bycatch (fish unintentionally caught while fishing for a specific type or size of fish) practices in Alaska may have harmed other fishers.
But government watchdog Accountable.US found that Trident’s contribution to the bycatch problem threatens the livelihood of smaller commercial fishers and endangers food security in native Alaskan communities — leaving many questions about Trident’s practices unanswered even after the hearing’s close.
“Trident’s spokesperson lashing out at the slightest hint of accountability for their harmful bycatch practices underscores the need for greater scrutiny into Trident’s troubling activities,” said Kyle Herrig, president of Accountable.US. “Native communities and small commercial fisheries in Alaska need help to sustain their livelihoods, and Trident’s failure to own up to its role in the bycatch problem leaves more questions than answers about the company’s detrimental impact in the region.”
As big trawler vessels harvest an outsized share of salmon — drawing complaints from subsistence fishers, smaller commercial fishers, and conservationists — industry groups have resisted calls to address the issue.
Trident Seafoods has been caught in multiple bycatch scandals, including taking in thousands of pounds of halibut bycatch.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE HEARING:
- Committee Chair Jared Huffman entered Accountable.US research into the congressional record to demonstrate the harm that Trident’s fishing practices are doing to native communities in Alaska.
- Trident spokesperson Shannon Carroll squirmed at the allegation, claiming that bycatch is not the “driving factor” in “lowered salmon productivity.”
- But even as the Department of the Interior noted a potential loss of 190,000 salmon in a September 2021 report, Trident has harvested 38,328 salmon as bycatch this year alone.
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