The number of fishermen wearing a fishing net has grown by about 20% in the last five years, according to industry experts.
The trend has been blamed for more frequent meltdowns in the ocean as more fish are caught and lost to the elements.
Fishing nets are the most commonly used devices among fishermen, with an estimated 2.5 million metric tons of nets in use worldwide, according the industry group United Fishermen.
But while they are becoming more popular, the technology also is at risk of becoming a liability as it becomes more widespread, experts say.
Some of the most common causes of melting are faulty gear, improper use, and improper sealing.
The devices have been found to cause damage to fish, including dead fish, and may not even be able to prevent a meltdown.
The industry group is pushing a federal law that would require fishermen to wear safety netting.
A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that the fishing industry had “significant risk of environmental degradation, including loss of productivity and habitat for marine organisms and marine species.”
The report said that “a majority of these potential adverse effects occur within the first three years after introduction of a new technology.”
A number of studies have shown that fishing nets may have harmful effects on the ocean.
One study by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, found that nets that were “unprotected from water” caused “significant” mortality among sea lions.
Other studies have found that fish caught in nets are often not caught at all, meaning they are not captured and released back into the ocean until it is too late to prevent the next meltdown.
“There are a number of factors that have a direct impact on the overall ecosystem and, unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation and a lot that is not supported by science,” said Steve Smith, a professor of oceanography at UCI.
The issue of fishing nets is a growing concern in California, where fishing gear is considered an essential part of the economy.
A report from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management found that there are 1.3 million fish caught per day in California and 1.8 million fish consumed each day.
The Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that fish kill the state’s economy at $6.6 billion annually.
“We have a lot more than just fish in the water,” Smith said.
“Fish and wildlife are integral parts of the ecosystem.”
He said that a recent survey of California fishermen showed that some fish caught on nets were in danger of dying from the chemicals used to make them.
“I think it’s very important that people understand that we are all responsible for the safety of the ocean,” Smith told The Associated Press.