Bycatch from marine commercial fisheries has been regarded as a global conservation concern for decades. Fortunately, some headway has been made in mitigating bycatch problems in marine fisheries. Freshwater commercial fisheries, however, have been relatively understudied. Although freshwater yields comprise 11% of the global commercial catch, bycatch research focusing on freshwater commercial fisheries represents only about 3% of the total bycatch literature. This paucity of research is particularly alarming given that so many of the world's threatened species live in freshwater. The limited literature that does exist includes examples of population declines attributed to commercial bycatch (e.g., the Yangtze River dolphin) and illustrates that bycatch is substantial in some systems (e.g., lake trout in Laurentian Great Lakes fisheries). Encouraging results from the marine realm can serve as models for bycatch research and development in freshwater and can lead to measurable gains in the conservation of freshwater ecosystems. We summarize existing work on inland bycatch in an effort to draw attention to this understated and understudied conservation problem.
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Vol. 61 • No. 4