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This method of fishing is a passive method used by artisanal fisheries in tropical areas for targeting tuna species, as well as sharks.This technique of fishing is often coupled with other methods such as driftnets also targeting large multi-pelagic species. A driftnet longline consists of mainline kept near the surface or at a certain depth by means of regularly spaced floats with relatively long snoods with baited hooks even spaced on it. These large long-liner vessels range from six to more than 17m; these fisheries usually have a low handling mode with a small soak time. Many of the larger vessels use a range of techniques to source their catch, including fish school detection technology, shooting longlines and hauling longlines. Fishing duration can last 10 to 15 days and venture well outside of exclusive economic zones (EEZ). These boats target mainly pelagic sharks, using driftnet longlines.
There are no seasonality concerns with this type of gear, shark species can be caught all over the world. However adverse weather conditions can negatively affect the fishing operations. In the Maldives shark longlining is generally carried out on a more seasonal basis, to avoid the worst of the monsoon season. However, as of late they will now go shark longlining fishing when shark catch rates are high, rather than just when they have periods of calm weather and/or tuna catches are low.
This type of fishing method catches a wide range of species, both target and non-target species. For example the Blue Shark (Pironace glauca) is taken on drifting longlines and is considered one of the most caught sharks globally. Blue sharks also represent the major by-catch species of longline and driftnet fisheries off the continental slope targeting tuna and swordfish species.
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