Stewardship—Bycatch Reduction

Summary: The You’re Excluded topic guide in the previous section helps students learn about the concept of population ecology and sustainability in fishing practices. The activity ends with a stewardship component, highlighted here, which challenges students to devise solution that reduces bycatch.

Concepts to teach: Bycatch, excluder, trawl, iterative, efficiency, selectivity, engineering design

Goals: To deal with the unwanted problems associated with bycatch, the fishing industry must change their gear and/or their practices. Students design models of excluder devices to solve this real-world problem.

S4.4D.1, S4.4D.2
S5.4D.1, S5.4D.2

SS.05.EC.01, SS.05.GE.07

SS.05.EC.01, SS.05.GE.07

Specific Objectives:

  1. Demonstrate how a model “excluder” reduces bycatch.
  2. Create a model of fishing gear that maximizes catch efficiency while minimizing bycatch

Activity Links and Resources:

  • You’re Excluded—In this classroom lesson plan from Oregon Sea Grant, students design their own model bycatch excluder devices. See the Activity Options section for suggestions about how to quantify results and allow for student experimentation.
  • See a video of a bycatch excluder device in action.
  • The Hatfield Marine Science Center Visitor Center in Newport has a Science for Sustainable Fisheries exhibit which contains models of various fishing vessels and excluder gear.
  • The Washington-based Derelict Fishing Gear project on the Northwest Straits website describes stewardship projects designed to reduce the impacts of derelict gear.


  • Present oral or written description of a bycatch reduction method.
  • List the costs and benefits of a bycatch reduction method.