Introduction

Chapter Objectives

  1. Provide background on those bycatch species of most concern, including turtles, seabirds, and sharks.
  2. Summarize best practices for reducing bycatch.
  3. Detail techniques for the safe handling and release of bycatch.

It is well known that longline gear hooks a number of different species, depending on where and how the gear is deployed. In some cases, many nontarget species (also known as bycatch or incidental catch) are caught. But by using some simple and inexpensive strategies to avoid the capture of nontarget or unwanted species, and knowing the proper techniques to release any that are caught, you can make longlining more sustainable. A healthy ocean benefits us all.

For all of the methods discussed below, be sure to have the crew prepared ahead of time. This includes having the right tools readily available at the time of haul, and instructing them about proper and safe techniques.