In the 1980s and 90s, driftnet fishing was a common technique used to catch salmon, tuna and other types of fish. It was an incredibly effective and efficient commercial fishing method. The nets, which were as long as 50 kilometers, created a wall in the ocean that easily ensnared thousands of fish in a short period of time.
The problem with the driftnets was that they were too effective. For as much tuna and salmon they caught, there was just as much “bycatch”–marine animals that were unintentionally caught in the net along with fish. Bycatch included whales, sea turtles, seals, and perhaps most commonly, dolphins.
Millions of dolphins and other marine animals were killed using this method, so, eventually, the United States enacted laws to prevent the widespread use of driftnet fishing that was causing so much environmental harm. The risk-reward was clear: Yes, driftnets were an absurdly effective way to catch fish, but the consequences were simply too devastating.
The same could be said for the government’s driftnet approach to durable medical equipment (DME) fraud prevention that casts an impossibly wide net, ensnaring innocent bystanders in an effort to catch all the fraudsters.