Trash Fish

Trash Fish captured fish that can not be marketed in any form. The shrimp fishery in the offshore waters of the Bay of Bengal is associated with a large by-catch, which is usually discarded at the sea, a practice that results from the emphasis on voyage fishing. By-catch is usually much greater in quantity and more varied than targeted or wanted species, particularly in the shrimp trawl fisheries. Some of the by-catch, whenever is considered commercially valuable and marketable, ie the large-sized popular fish species, are landed ashore for sale along with shrimp, the remaining of the by-catch is thrown overboard at the sea.

The discarded by-catch is of two kinds, those that cannot be marketed in any form, the trash fish, and the other is the small-sized (juveniles) commercially important ones. It is estimated that different countries around the Bay of Bengal, discard about 400,000 m tons of trash fish from shrimp trawls annually. Large quantities of fin fish caught (35-45 thousand m tons/year) as by-catch of shrimp trawls by the offshore fishing fleet are discarded as trash fish at catching points. Penaeid shrimp being the target fishery item of commercial fishing fleet contributes only about 5% to the total marine production. A list of the shrimp by-catch (trash fish) species of Bangladesh is given below:

Family Scientific name Common English name
Cynoglossidae Cynoglossus spp. Sole fish
Carangidae Carangoid spp. Hardtail scad
Mullidae Upeneus sp. Goat Fish 
Nemipteridae Nemipterus sp. Threadfin bream
Sepiidae Sepia sp. Squid
Loligonidae Loligo sp. Cuttle fish
Clupeidae --- Shad

An initiative for effective utilization of trash fish was taken in the mid-eighties to develop useful food products. Four types of products such as fish burger, fish finger, fish ball, and minced block can be prepared from some of these trash fishes. [Nuruddin Mahmood]