Gill-netting is an effective and selective method of harvesting salmon. Vessels average less than 40 feet (12 metres) in length and have a small crew who are often family members. Gill-netters set their nets in rivers, estuaries or coastal inlets attempting to catch the salmon as they school and swim back to their natal rivers.
Fish harvesters set their rectangular nets from either the stern or bow of their vessels. Altering the mesh size, the way in which nets are suspended in the water and the amount of time they soak allows fish harvesters to selectively target certain species or sizes. Because of their effectiveness at catching salmon, gill-net fishery openings tend to be relatively short, allowing fish harvesters only hours or a few days to net their catch.