A wide variety of schooling pelagic species (those that spend most of their lives in the mid-water, with little contact with the seabed) including anchovies, herrings and mackerels, and fish that gather to spawn such as sea bass and cod.
How they work
The front net sections are often made of very large meshes or ropes, which herd the fish towards the back of the funnel-shaped net. Pelagic trawls may be towed by one or two (pair trawl) boats.
This method can be highly specific, with little bycatch of other species, when targeting adult schools of one species.
Pelagic trawls, especially large pair trawls, are associated with bycatch of cetaceans, turtles, and other marine mammals in some areas, such as common dolphins in the sea bass pair trawl fishery in the English Channel. Bycatch of juvenile fish of the target species may also be high in some fisheries.