The Norwegian longline

Baiting the hooks on the longline.

The longline is one of the traditional norwegian fishing techniques, which was first used in the 1500s. It is a long line with floats and sinkers to keep it at the right depth for codfishing. On the line there are branch lines, or snoods, attached about three feet, or one meter, apart. The snoods have baited hooks. Traditionaly the longline´s hooks are baited on land and then coiled into an open bucket. The bucket is then brought to the fishing banks and and played out on from the boat. The longline is classified as a passive tool because when placed it the ocean it does not move, but attracts the fish by the smell of the bait.

The line stays in the water for 4 – 5 hours, sometimes more. Pulling in the line was hard work and the longest lines could have 1000 hooks. Traditionally one of the crew pulled the line over a wooden roller while another gaffed the fish and threw them on board.

Traditionally the longline and snoods were made of natural fibers, but today the ropes are synthetic. The modern longliners have mechanical autoline systems and can set and haul up to 30.000 hooks.

There are many positive effects from using the longline today compared to other fishing methods. The fish have far better quality with a firmer and whiter flesh. Also the seabed is not harmed using the longline, there are rarely any ghostfishing and you only get the selected catch. In addition the method is more energy-saving and have a smaller carbon footprint.

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