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Fishing Methods that Promote Sustainability include:

  • Farming - The principal form of aquaculture. It involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food. Farming is an economical, sustainable alternative to the consumption of highly depleted, wild-caught fish species.
  • Trolling - Hook and line method that tows fishing lines behind or alongside a boat. Fishermen use a variety of lures and baits to “troll” for different fish at different depths. The higher cost of this highly selective, eco friendly method makes it less popular in fisheries.
  • Hook and Lining - Hook and line fisherman use a pole (rod) and fishing line with one of several hooks. Handliners don’t use a pole-they simply hold a line in their hand. To attract fish, hook and liners use artificial lures or bait, while “jigging” or jerking the line to simulate the motion of smaller fish.
  • Harpooning - Harpooning is a traditional method for catching large fish. It involves the use of a long aluminum or wooden harpoon that shoots into the animal and hauls in the catch.
  • Traps and Pots - Traps and pots such as submerged wire or wood cages that attract fish and hold them alive until fisherman return to haul in the gear. They usually lie on the bottom and a rope runs from the trap or pot to a buoy floating on the surface to help fisherman locate their gear. Most traps and pots are an environmentally responsible method for fishing.
  • Seining - A round wall of netting that encircles and closes on a school of fish. Seiners either haul the net aboard or bring it alongside the boat to scoop out the fish with smaller nets.
  • Selective Gillnetting - A net that hangs in the water at various depths, suspended by a system of floats and weights, or anchors. The netting is almost invisible to fish as they swim into the gill net. The mesh spaces are sized to target specific types of fish and are large enough for a fish’s head to pass through, but not its body. As the fish tries to back out, its gills are entangled in the net.

Congress Acts to Protect Ocean Resources

The U. S. Congress passed the “Sustainable Seafood Act” in 1996 in response to growing concerns regarding the health of the oceans. This legislation accomplished the following:

  • Defined overfishing.
  • Prohibited fishery managers from allowing catches beyond sustainable yields.
  • Mandated that overfished species be listed annually.
  • Mandated that recovery plans be developed for over-fished species.

Since 1998 when it was implemented, numerous species declines have been arrested, and some populations of previously depleted species have shown recoveries.

Seafood Savvy is brought to you in partnership with Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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