Pelagic long-lines

Background - June 17, 2008
Long-lines consist of short lines (called snoods) carrying baited hooks, attached at regular intervals to a longer main line that is laid on the bottom or suspended horizontally with the help of surface floats. Main lines can be over 150 km long and can carry several thousand hooks.

Long-lines

Target

A wide variety of pelagic species (those that spend most of their lives in the mid-water, with little contact with the seabed), but best known for tuna, swordfish and marlins.

How they work

Long-lines consist of short lines (called snoods) carrying baited hooks, attached at regular intervals to a longer main line that is laid on the bottom or suspended horizontally with the help of surface floats. Main lines can be over 150 km long and can carry several thousand hooks.

Problems

Long-lines catch many endangered sharks, turtles, marine mammals and seabirds. Bycatch can be reduced in a variety of ways including circle hooks to prevent catching turtles, and setting deeper lines to reduce catches of turtles, sharks and marine mammals. Techniques such as setting lines quickly and at a greater depth, using bird scarers, and setting at night can reduce the number of seabirds that get caught on hooks and drown when diving for bait.

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