Presentation of fishing techniques using active gear

Pelagic trawling

Trawlers use a trawl which is a pocket-shaped net. Pelagic trawls are towed in open water to catch “pelagic” fish.

Quality tends to vary, depending on the duration of the haul (from 30 minutes to more than 3 hours) and the tide. A fish caught by a coastal trawler with a short haul can be particularly fresh and of excellent quality. With a longer haul, the bottom of the trawl can sometimes scrape against the fish which can then lose some of their scales and become less stiff. This is a fishing method with varying results in terms of quality, although the large volumes caught sometimes offer excellent opportunities.

Advantages

  • Good selection of species which swim in shoals
  • No impact on the marine environment

Disadvantages

  • Encourages overfishing by catching entire fish shoals

Species

  • John Dory
  • Sardine
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Hake
  • Sea bass
Lifting of a trawling net onto a trawler on the return from a day of fishing.
A trawl submerged in water and towed by a trawler.

Bottom trawling

The bottom trawl or beam trawl are towed along the sea bed to catch demersal fish.

 

Advantages

  • Targets marketable species that live on the sea bed

Disadvantages

  • Less selective than pelagic trawling, it damages marine habitats

Species

Diagram explaining the bottom trawling method.
Trawling nets reeled in onto a trawler's deck.

Danish seine

Fish are gathered into a net, using ropes which encircle the fishing area. This fishing gear can put pressure on stocks due to its efficiency.

Advantages

  • Reasonably productive fishing gear and its relatively low fuel consumption is a major factor in its recent development
  • Fish are less damaged than by a trawl and are generally of good quality.Given the high volume of fish caught, products generally offer excellent value for money.

Disadvantages

  • This fishing gear can put pressure on stocks because it is so efficient

Species

Diagram explaining the method of Danish seine fishing.
A Danish seine net is lifted onto a seiner on the return from a day of fishing.

Purse seine

This fishing gear uses a buoyed net to encircle fish. It is also called an encircling net.
The fish shoals are surrounded by a circular net./strong> They are brought to the surface and are usually still alive before they are stored on board. Most boats use tanks of iced water to store any fish caught. A technique mainly used for pelagic fish but may (controversially) be used for sea bream, common pandora, mullets and bass.

Advantages

  • Good selectivity, tends to catch fish of exceptional quality
  • Surface fishing which doesn’t damage the sea bed

Disadvantages

  • Favourable weather conditions are required to haul in the multiple nets

Species

  • Sardine
  • Anchovies
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
Diagram explaining the method of purse seine fishing.
Circular net immersed in the water.

Dredging

This metal fishing gear is used on sea beds to catch shellfish.

Shellfish is removed from sediment by towed metal dredges, before being collected in a basket. Some fragile shellfish can be broken by the dredges and are not sold. Dredge-caught shellfish is known for being rather sandy; this can be reduced if the shellfish is put in a tank when on shore.

 

It is the main fishing method for some families of shellfish; it also leads to the bycatch of some fish, including sole and turbot using mussel dredgers.

Some fish are damaged by dredging, while others are brought to the surface, alive and intact. Again, the fish merchant’s expert eye is required at the fish market to identify the best products.

Advantages

  • Selective fishing gear and good yield

Disadvantages

  • Impact on the sea bed and marine habitats

Species

Diagram explaining the dredge fishing method.
Lifting of the dredge on a trawler on the return from a day fishing.
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