1. Biodiversity and fisheries are two important assets of freshwater ecosystems that are currently at risk from external threats. Establishing an equitable resolution to these threats is a major challenge of the Anthropocene.
2. This is particularly pertinent in developing nations where hotspots for biodiversity converge with rapid, and often environmentally degrading, economic development, and high dependency on aquatic biota and fisheries by local communities.
3. Here, we present global case studies that demonstrate how building upon a shared need for healthy environments and ecological integrity can meet both biodiversity conservation and fishery objectives.
4. These case studies provide evidence that addressing biodiversity conservation needs is possible through partnerships (especially with fishers), shared knowledge, and innovation in fisheries management.
5. In the pursuit of sustainable use of fresh water in development, both conservation and fisheries agendas are better served if efforts focused on synergising fishing activities with local ecosystem functioning and yield long-term livelihood and food security perspectives.
6. A partnership between conservationists (e.g., practitioners, environmental NGOs) and fisheries communities provides a unified voice advocating for biodiversity and social interests in freshwater governance decisions, which has more socio-economic and political capital than when voices are independent or in competition.