Mola mola is the most
common bycatch of the drift net fishery, which targets broadbill
swordfish of California and Oregon. According to reports from
the National Marine Fisheries Society Southwest Region, between
1990-1998, 26.1% of the drift net catch consisted of the common
mola, which translates to a catch of 26,503 individuals. 42.1%
of the total discards were mola (Rand Rasmussen, pers comm).
In the Spanish driftnet swordfish fishery
on the Mediterranean side of the Gibraltar Straits, Mola
mola constituted 71% of the entire catch in 1992, 93% in
1993 and 90% in 1994 (Silvani, L. et al, 1999).
Until we establish baseline data on these
fishes, we have no way of gauging how such capture rates are
affecting the wild stock.