Longline with Traps or Hooks
Sablefish traps consist of a conical-shaped steel frame covered with nylon netting. The traps capture fish live by attracting them with bait into an entrance that leads to a tunnel and the centre of the trap. All traps have an escape ring to allow small fish to get out. Once inside the traps, the larger sablefish are unable to escape. The traps are attached to a longline at even intervals that is anchored to the seafloor.
The longline consists of a long rope, spooled on a hydraulic drum, which fish harvesters set from the stern of their vessels. Hooks are fastened to this rope using clips or swivels. The longline is set along the ocean floor where sablefish live. It is marked on the ocean surface using a float and flagpole at each end. Fish harvesters set several longlines at a time and haul them regularly to land their catch. Once aboard, the hooks are baited again, if need be, and the longline is reset. A longline can be up to two miles (3.2 km) long and have up to 2,000 hooks. About 35 vessels actively participate in the sablefish fishery each year.