Sea•thospedia: Long-Lining

Aug 30 2011

Long-lining is a fishing method used internationally. Long-lining uses a central fishing line, buoyed by sytrofoam or plastic floats, with smaller lines of baited hooks attached and extended down about 15 feet. The length of these lines can range from 1 mile to over 100. The lines are mainly meant to catch tuna and swordfish.

One of the main issues concerning long-lining is that fact that the lines tend to attract marine life not intended for the catch. The hooks attached with bait can attract and catch birds, sea turtles, sharks, as well as other types of animals that become victims of bycatch.

Albatross are a major species effected by this. These birds can see the baited hooks from the air and when they dive on the hooks, they are caught and drown. This causes the unnecessary killing of thousands of birds annually.

Sea turtles are also effected by the use of long-lining. Many sea turtles get caught with the hooks in their necks or die of choking by trying to eat the bait. In Costa Rica, an estimated 14 sea turtles caught per every 1,000 long-line hooks, this is the highest percentage in the world.

Sharks are also victims of long-lining. Many sharks get caught by their fins and then, coincidentally, are finned themselves. We all know the horrors of shark finning, it is not a nice practice.

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