As demand for seafood rises, chefs have their seafood supplier on speed dial. And while species like tuna, cod, and halibut are popular, these days, the daily catch on the blackboard might be something unfamiliar — squirrel fish or the banded rudderfish. Don't be scared off. Most likely it's bycatch or trash fish. While perfectly edible and quite tasty, these fish are so named because they might otherwise be thrown overboard or ground into fishmeal because they aren't the intended catch on commercial fishing boats.

If they had a choice, fisherman would rather not have to deal with bycatch, but fishing nets aren't particular about what they scoop up. Bottom trawlers have little discretion when they drag along the seafloor. Longlines with baited hooks extend for 50 miles or more, which attracts anything that swims by — including unwanted edible fish as well as sea turtles, sharks, and other sea mammals. Opportunistic seabirds flock to longlines in hopes of an easy meal, often getting snagged.

All in all, it's an inefficient way catch fish, and even the fisherman dislike it. The most recent tally from Johns Hopkins University estimates that in United States-controlled waters, 573 million pounds of fish are lost due to fisherman bycatch every year. This pales in comparison to the even-more striking fact that 51-63 percent of seafood is wasted at the consumer level.

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