Long-liners in the Catalan coast

The Spanish team is focused in the Catalan harbours, where different kinds of long-liners operate. The main target of this project is the demersal long-liner fleet, but other boats using artisanal or pelagic long-lines also operate in the area. In fact, in the harbours where we have started our work -Llançà, Roses and Vilanova i la Geltrú- we can find boats using the different long-line types. In this blog post, we will quickly point out the differences between these similar fishing gears.As we know, long-lines are composed by a main line with several hooks attacked to it, but this general configuration can be set in a plethora of different variations which can be grouped in 3 main classes:

– Pelagic long-lines: This fishing gear requires floats to keep the gear close to the sea surface. In the Catalan coast, the fishermen generally target large pelagic predators like swordfish or tunas. They set a few thousand large hooks separated by a distance that can exceed 30 m. In this project we do not pay attention to this fishing method, since the Spanish Oceanographic Institute has an on-going long-term project with on-board observers on these fishing boats.

Example of pelagic longline configuration. Bycatch mitigation factsheet 8. BirdLife
Pelagic longliner at Torredembarra harbour. Photo: Matxalen Pauly

– Demersal long-lines: Targeting bottom species, like hake or breams, the fishing gear is sunk by the use of weights, which are combined with floats to keep the gear on the right placement for the target species. They set a similar amount of smaller  hooks, which are spaced very few meters.

Longline box with the hooks, some with the bait. Photo: Pau Calero
Demersal long-liner off central Catalonia

Artisanal long-lines: The main characteristic of this fishing gear is its small scale. This fishing gear can be very similar to demersal long-liners, but they use a few hundreds of hooks which are set in relatively shallow waters close to the coast line.

Artisanal long-liner at Roses harbour
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