Unselective fishing catches non-target organisms as ‘bycatch’—an issue of critical ocean conservation and resource management concern. However, the situation is confused because perceptions of target and non target catch vary widely, impeding efforts to estimate bycatch globally. To remedy this, the term needs to be redefined as a consistent definition that establishes what should be considered bycatch. A new definition is put forward as: ‘bycatch is catch that is either unused or unmanaged’. Applying this definition to global marine fisheries data conservatively indicates that bycatch represents 40.4 percent of global marine catches, exposing systemic gaps in fisheries policy and management.
Reference: DAVIES RWD, et al. Defining and estimating global marine fisheries bycatch. Marine Policy (2009), doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2009.01.003.