Longline fishing: Curtain of death

Longline fishing is prone to the incidental catching and killing of seabirds, sea turtles, and sharks. Therefore, this form of fishing is even a threat when the lines are still active and we do not speak of actually ghost fishing.

Longline fishing is a commercial fishing technique. It uses a long line, called the main line, with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods (or gangions). A snood is a short length of line, attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. Longlines are classified mainly by where they are placed in the water column. This can be at the surface or at the bottom. Lines can also be set by means of an anchor, or left to drift. Hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks can hang from a single line. Longliners commonly target swordfish, tuna, halibut, sablefish and many other species.

albatross-long-line-fishingLonglines have been accurately described as a “curtain of death” that catches any living creature unfortunate enough to bite a baited hook. They are indiscriminate – they catch not only the “target” (for example tuna or swordfish), but endangered sharks, leatherback and loggerhead turtles (legally protected), and seabirds, especially albatross. Over 25% of long-line catch is thrown back into the sea, usually dead.

Longlining must be banned internationally. It is killing protected species of animals and is putting many other species in danger of extinction. It is the main culprit in the decimation of shark populations by over 90% and must be outlawed immediately if we are not to face the collapse of fish populations and the ocean ecology.

Video: Deborah Bluangel