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As the name suggests, longline fisheries trail a long line, or main line, behind a boat.

Baited hooks are attached to the nets at intervals to attract the target species. Longlines can be set for pelagic (midwater) or demersal (bottom) fishing, depending on the target species. 

Without careful management, longline fisheries can have unintended interactions with non-target fish, seabirds, and other marine life. Because of this, to become MSC certified, they are often required to make improvements to their monitoring programs, and to mitigate interactions with non-target species.

Longline fishing gear illustration

MSC certified longline operations, such as those fishing for Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean, have employed measures such as weighted long lines that sink more quickly, and tori-lines that scare away seabirds. Some have even made changes to fishing times to avoid interaction with endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species.

Careful data collection and regulations, such as those followed by longline vessels in the Icelandic cod fishery, ensure sustainable catches.

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Pole and line fishing

Pole and line fishing

Pole and line is a fishing method used to catch tuna and other large pelagic (midwater) species one fish at a time.

Gillnet fishing

Gillnet fishing

Gillnet fishing uses a ‘wall’ or ‘curtain' of netting that hangs in the water. Gillnets generally have low environmental impacts and don't touch the seabed.