Granite Coast — Southwest Newfoundland
Fish harvesters use longlines to catch Atlantic halibut. Baited hooks are attached to a main line that is anchored to the sea bottom. With vessels ranging from 20 to 65 feet in length, this small-boat fishery takes place inshore and in near-shore areas. Incidental catches include cod, hake and flounder among others.
The longline consists of a long rope, spooled into a tub , which fish harvesters set from the stern of their vessels. Baited hooks are fastened to this main rope by shorter lines. The longline is set along the sea floor where bottom-dwelling fish live. It is marked on the ocean surface using a buoy 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.
In Atlantic Canada, many different species are caught on bottom longlines. These include halibut, haddock, redfish, skate, cod and plaice. About 87 vessels are licensed to fish Atlantic halibut off the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland, although only part of the fleet is active each fishing season.
Longline fish havesters unintentionally catch undersized and unwanted species (bycatch) and non-targeted species such as cod, American plaice, redfish, skate and Greenland halibut when fishing for Atlantic halibut. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans limits the duration of fishing time to control fishing effort. A number of other measures also address conservation in this fishery, including:
Ocean Wise - Under Review
SeaChoice - Avoid
Apr 02 - Apr 15
Visit the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Newfoundland Region homepage for more info on the management of this fishery.
For the most recent stock status, check the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s science advisory reports.
Atlantic halibut caught by longline are individually hauled aboard, cleaned, washed and stored on ice. On the Southwest Coast of Newfoundland, fish harvesters land their catch each day. Properly handled and chilled on ice, fresh Atlantic halibut has a shelf life of 18 days.