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long-lining


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A fishing method whereby baited hooks are attached to a headline, which is strung between a series of buoys. The length of a headline can be 40 kilometres (25 mls.) onto which are clipped up to 3,000 hooks on additional short lengths of line, or snoods. The snood lengths are adjusted so that the hooks fish in or around the thermocline. Once a long-liner has shot the headline it returns to the start of the line and hauls in. Favoured regions for this type of fishery are along ocean fronts where the fish being targeted, tunas, swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and billfishes (family Istiophoridae), tend to congregate. When the fishing is good over 10% of the hooks take marketable fish, but now such good catches are rare. Large numbers of shark are also taken. These are discarded after their fins have been cut off to be dried for making shark fin soup in Asia. Badly run long-line operations kill large numbers of seabirds, especially albatrosses, which snatch the baits as they are deployed, get snagged, and are drowned.

M. V. Angel

Subjects: Maritime History.


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