What are the advantages and disadvantages of longline fishing?

Longline fishing is a practice of commercial fishing that involves the use of a long and continuous fishing line with countless baited hooks. The fishing technique primarily targets pelagic (open water) fish species such as tuna, swordfish, and marlin, among others. Despite its popularity among fishermen, longline fishing has both advantages and disadvantages. In this article, explore the pros and cons of longline fishing.

Advantages of longline fishing

1. High Yield: Longline fishing has a higher yield than traditional hook and line fishing. The use of numerous hooks in quick succession of the line captures a larger number of fish species, thus giving a better return for fishermen.

2. Targets specific species: Longline fishing is specifically designed to target pelagic species, which tend to inhabit deeper waters. This method allows fishermen to target large and valuable fish species that are not easily captured by other means.

3. Conserving Resources: Longline fishing allows fishermen to concentrate in specific areas, giving other areas and fish species a chance to thrive and grow, thus conserving natural resources.

4. Less environmental damage: Longline fishing has a lower impact on the surrounding environment because the hooks are spaced out in the water, reducing physical interactions with non-target species.

Disadvantages of longline fishing

1. Bycatch: Longline fishing increases bycatch, catching non-targeted species, which are often threatened or endangered. The indiscriminate capture of non-target species can harm the delicate balance of an ecosystem.

2. Kills sharks and other marine life: The use of longline fishing often leads to the incidental capture of sharks and other marine life, which are then hauled to the surface and cannot release themselves from the hooks quickly enough. As a result, these species can die from exhaustion, injury, or drowning.

3. Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing: Longline fishing is often associated with illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU), which means illegal fishing, and catch of species without permission or outside the legal limits.

4. Habitat destruction: Longline fishing sometimes results in damage to the seabed due to the weight of fishing equipment. The gear used can damage or destroy habitats, thus altering the ecosystems and reducing the lifespan of the fishing grounds.

Longline fishing has advantages and disadvantages. The high yield and accuracy make it an effective tool for capturing targeted species, but at the same time, longline fishing can harm the marine environment. Fishing companies and governments must strive to adopt selective fishing techniques that benefit the industry while ensuring sustainable fishing practice. This will conserve marine life and the fishing industry’s future.

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