Catching mahi mahi (dolphinfish) by pole-and-line or trolling limits accidental catch of other species.
Mahi mahi is a beautiful and acrobatic fish, popular with sport anglers. It grows and matures quickly so it can probably withstand concentrated fishing pressure. However, scientists still know very little about the overall population size of mahi mahi and this unknown is cause for concern.
Commercial fishermen primarily use longlines and hook-and-line gear to catch mahi mahi. There is considerable concern about bycatch from longlining as sea turtles, seabirds, sharks and marine mammals get caught or entangled, often resulting in injury or death. Fisheries using hook-and-line gear (such as troll, pole-and-line, or handline), catch little to no bycatch and are more sustainable.
Fishery management, another aspect of sustainability, is especially strong in the southeast U.S., making hook-and-line caught mahi mahi from that region a "Best Choice."
Since there are no integrated international laws to reduce bycatch, international longline fleets are contributing heavily to the long-term decline of some of these threatened or endangered species. As a result, mahi mahi caught by the international longline fleets is rated as "Avoid." U.S., longline-caught mahi mahi is subject to strict regulations and gets a "Good Alternative" ranking.