||In terrestrial and coastal systems, the mitigation hierarchy is widely and increasingly used to guide actions to ensure that no net loss of biodiversity ensues from development. We develop a conceptual model which applies this approach to the mitigation of marine megafauna by-catch in fisheries, going from defining an overarching goal with an associated quantitative target, through avoidance, minimization, remediation to offsetting. We demonstrate the framework's utility as a tool for structuring thinking and exposing uncertainties. We draw comparisons between debates ongoing in terrestrial situations and in by-catch mitigation, to show how insights from each could inform the other; these are the hierarchical nature of mitigation, out-of-kind offsets, research as an offset, incentivizing implementation of mitigation measures, societal limits and uncertainty. We explore how economic incentives could be used throughout the hierarchy to improve the achievement of by-catch goals. We conclude by highlighting the importance of clear agreed goals, of thinking beyond single species and individual jurisdictions to account for complex interactions and policy leakage, of taking uncertainty explicitly into account and of thinking creatively about approaches to by-catch mitigation in order to improve outcomes for conservation and fishers. We suggest that the framework set out here could be helpful in supporting efforts to improve by-catch mitigation efforts and highlight the need for a full empirical application to substantiate this.