What is Bycatch?


In the maritime lexicon, “bycatch” stands as a pivotal term that underscores the intricate balance between fishing, ecology, and sustainability. Bycatch refers to the inadvertent capture of non-target aquatic species during fishing endeavors. As fishing vessels cast their nets or lines to extract desired target species, the unintended consequence emerges the entanglement of juvenile fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds. This collateral catch can wield profound ecological repercussions, disrupting marine ecosystems and engendering population imbalances.

The implications of bycatch extend beyond ecological realms to economic and regulatory domains. Bycatch undermines the economic viability of fisheries by wasting valuable marine life that isn’t meant for the market. Furthermore, stringent regulations and conservation efforts aim to mitigate bycatch, ensuring responsible fishing practices and the preservation of marine biodiversity. Strategies to curtail bycatch include utilizing specialized fishing gear, implementing spatial and temporal fishing restrictions, and designing devices like turtle excluder devices (TEDs) to release non-target species.

Bycatch epitomizes the delicate coexistence of human sustenance and environmental stewardship. It compels stakeholders, from fishermen to policymakers, to navigate the waters of conservation and commerce, striving for a harmonious balance between thriving fisheries and thriving oceans.


Learn more about biodiversity and bycatch: