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

Although the magnetic monopole is the big fish MoEDAL seeks, the experiment could haul in plenty of interesting bycatch. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 The big vessels typically pull their nets all night, anchoring at dawn when crews tend to the business of culling their catch, tossing small fish and other bycatch overboard. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Better days ahead for Texas offshore anglers," 23 June 2018 That bycatch draws the attention of a world of predator species — king and Spanish mackerel, shark, ling, dorado, tuna, little tunny and, occasionally, a wild card such as sailfish or wahoo. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Better days ahead for Texas offshore anglers," 23 June 2018 Croakers, members of the redfish and speckled trout family, are considered bycatch when shrimpers are harvesting bait and table fare. Ralph Winingham, San Antonio Express-News, "Croaker season lights up speckled trout action at Baffin Bay," 28 June 2018 Sharks are killed both by targeted fishing for their fins and as bycatch, caught by trawlers and long-line fishermen seeking other species. Washington Post, "Sandy-ravaged aquarium opens splashy new shark exhibit," 26 June 2018 Trawl methods and gillnets are often employed, leading to devastating bycatch of other marine creatures, and there are almost no management practices in place to ensure a stable crab population. Kelsie Gray, Good Housekeeping, "4 Canned Fish You Should Avoid At All Costs," 1 June 2016 Permit can only be commercially harvested if they are netted as bycatch in the Pompano Endorsement Zone off Florida's west coast. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Anglers have fought to protect this fish. So how did it wind up on a Miami Beach menu? | Miami Herald," 15 May 2018 Such fishing would result in bycatch of other species, including chinook salmon. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Brown trout, and commercial fishing, also deserve board scrutiny," 24 Jan. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of bycatch

1974, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bycatch

Dictionary Entries near bycatch

by blood


by car




by choice

Statistics for bycatch

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bycatch

The first known use of bycatch was in 1974

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on bycatch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bycatch

Comments on bycatch

What made you want to look up bycatch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of authority or knowledge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!