Pole and line is a fishing method used to catch tuna and other large pelagic (midwater) species one fish at a time.
When a school of target fish is located, water is sprayed from the back of the fishing vessel and small bait fish (e.g. sardines) are scattered onto the surface of the water, creating the illusion of an active school of prey fish.
This process, known as chumming, sends the target fish into a feeding frenzy during which they will bite anything they see. Fishermen line up along the back of the boat each with a hand-held wooden or fiberglass pole with a short line and barb-less hook attached. Once a fish is hooked it is flicked up and over the head of the fisher and onto the deck.
MSC certified pole and line fisheries, such as the Maldives pole and line skipjack tuna fishery, have low levels of bycatch and fish at sustainable rates, allowing fish populations to remain healthy.
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Longline fisheries trail long lines with baited hooks attached to attract target fish. They often require measures to reduce contact with other species.