by·​catch | \ ˈbī-ˌkach How to pronounce bycatch (audio) , -ˌkech \

Definition of bycatch

: the portion of a commercial fishing catch that consists of marine animals caught unintentionally

Examples of bycatch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web If the bycatch is of legal size – at least 73 inches long – fishers can keep and sell the fish. Tristan Baurick,, "Population of prized tuna species decline as protections ease in the Gulf of Mexico," 13 Sep. 2020 For many years, both kinds of toothfish were minor bycatch for ships searching the cold southern waters for marbled and gray rock cod. Tristram Korten, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Hunt for the Modern-Day Pirates Who Steal Millions of Tons of Fish From the Seas," 21 Aug. 2020 In late May and early June, the beginning of the killer whale migration season, fish populations remain low because of factors like bycatch fishing and habitat disturbance. Christina Couch, Smithsonian Magazine, "The COVID-19 Slowdown Will Show Whether Quieter Seas Help Killer Whales," 29 June 2020 This bycatch bias results from male and female albatross gravitating toward different territories. Tara Santora, Scientific American, "Should Ecologists Treat Male and Female Animals like ‘Different Species’?," 2 June 2020 These management moves, as well as the addition of bycatch reduction devices to shrimp trawls and the overall decline of the Gulf shrimping industry, have been the keys to a successful red snapper rebuild. Matt Wyatt,, "Red snapper: A conservation success story," 27 June 2020 But in the subtropical seas where females tend to forage, the key tuna fisheries have looser regulations limiting bycatch—and fewer observers to enforce the rules—says Richard Phillips, a seabird ecologist at the British Antarctic Survey. Tara Santora, Scientific American, "Should Ecologists Treat Male and Female Animals like ‘Different Species’?," 2 June 2020 The map helps fishing vessels avoid areas where turtles are likely to be hanging out at any given time, reducing turtle bycatch in the process. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "To Conserve Marine Species, Make Protected Areas Mobile," 17 Jan. 2020 Turtles have been seen ingesting bits of garbage floating out to sea, or getting snared as bycatch in fishing nets. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "COVID-19 Restrictions May Boost Leatherback Sea Turtle Nesting," 24 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bycatch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bycatch

1962, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of bycatch was in 1962

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Bycatch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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