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Fishing Nets and their Types

There are many types of fishing and with it many types of fishing nets to optimize every day at sea. Throughout history, different styles of fishing have been used, with increasingly resistant and larger meshes to be able to cover a greater number of fish. Of course, the more fish you catch, within the legal framework, the better the fishing business will do.

So in this guide we will talk from what a fishing net is to the different types of nets and materials used for its manufacture.

We start with ...

What is a fishing net?

It is a set of very resistant threads, depending on the size they will be more or less thick, forming a mesh through which the fish cannot escape. At present, materials such as polyamide, nylon, or polyethylene are used in different forms such as braided or twisted, the most effective and resistant, being those used in our company.

In ancient times, organic component meshes such as wool or silk were used more, although now it is less common, since synthetic materials offer better benefits, such as durability and resistance.

But why are the networks so different? In this article we will give a brief introduction to the underwater world of fishing nets.

Types of fishing nets

Our nets differ in thickness, material and type of connection. These aspects depend on the purpose of the nets: what species of fish are going to be caught and by what means? Fishing methods range from hand-fishing to gigantic trawlers dragging their nets across the seabed. We will describe them below so that you can get a clearer idea of ​​why the networks used are so different.

  1. Fishing with a rod, line and hook is the simplest and most selective way to fish and, therefore, the most respectful of marine life and ecosystems. Fishing lines are mostly polymer and can sometimes break, but they are quite small compared to nets and have less of an impact on the sea.
  2. Gillnets are used in several of the fishing methods, it is one of the most used by commercial fishermen in the vast majority of oceans and in some freshwater areas. The size of the mesh, the strength of the thread, as well as the length and depth of the net are strictly regulated to reduce the incidental catch of non-target species. Its name derives from its function: the fish first become entangled with the head and, when trying to retreat, they are trapped with the gills.
  3. Bottom gillnets are anchored to the seabed by weights and raised with buoys, creating net walls that can be up to 15 km long and 15 m high. Its use in coastal fisheries is controversial due to the likelihood of accidental (unintentional) catches of marine mammals such as porpoises and seabirds.
  4. Purse seines are often towed by boats along beaches, in inland waters, or on fish farms. In lake fishing, two boats separate in a circle while releasing the net from the drum and then slowly pulling it back. The fish are gathered in a catch bag woven into the net, from which they cannot escape.
  5. Fish traps, such as baskets and pots, are considered "passive" fishing gear. They have different shapes and materials, depending on the desired prey: for example, lobsters, crabs, shrimp or fish that live at the bottom of the sea. Traps are anchored to the seabed and are sometimes equipped with buoys to mark their location.
  6. Trammel nets are made up of three layers of gillnets that are dragged to the bottom with weights and placed in the water with floating corks. Its peculiarity is that the different layers have different mesh sizes. If the fish make it through the first layer, they are caught by the narrowest net in the center.
  7. Seine nets are placed around a school of fish in a circle and closed with a line tied to the bottom of the net to completely enclose it. This method is commonly used when fishing for edible fish such as sardines, herring, mackerel, and especially tuna. Since these schools of fish are often accompanied by dolphins, there have been high rates of bycatch in the past, as well as local overfishing due to illegal search planes. Today, many places have adopted regulations to protect dolphins.
  8. Driftnets are up to 60 km long and float vertically through the oceans like impenetrable walls. Since many whales, sharks, turtles and dolphins, as well as highly threatened fish species, are often caught in these nets, marine conservation organizations have been fighting against the use of driftnets for many years. These death traps often drift through the oceans for several days at a time and are located by connected transmitters. However, many nets are also lost and make their way across the sea as the most dangerous of ghost nets. Driftnets have been banned in all EU waters since 2008.
  9. Anchored floating gillnets are an evolution of gillnets and have been authorized in the Mediterranean since 2006. They are anchored to the seabed and spread out to "float" on the water. Animal advocates attribute the same devastating side effects to them as driftnets.
  10. Pelagic longlines are used for deep sea fishing. Up to 20,000 bait hooks hang from a line up to 130 km long. Due to its huge bycatch rate, longline fishing is highly criticized. Baits drifting near the surface can not only kill sharks and sea turtles, but also attract many seabirds to death.
  11. Demersal longlines are similar to pelagic longlines, but are anchored horizontally to the sea floor. In this way, fish that live near the seabed are caught.
  12. Trawls are divided into pelagic and demersal, both towed by trawlers. The pelagic trawl is used at depths of 50 to 300 m and is funnel-shaped with a bag at the end. Demersal trawls have a similar but shorter structure and are used at depths of up to 1,500 m. Both variants are criticized for their high rate of by-catches, and demersal trawls are also criticized for dragging across the seabed and thus destroying entire ecosystems.
  13. Beam trawls are demersal nets whose net is kept open by a wide bar. The net slides across the seabed like a sled on skates, pulled by a trawler. The iron chains, attached to the skids, remove the seabed to guide all the fish towards the net. This type of fishing causes immense destruction of the seabed with all its marine flora and a high rate of accidental catches.

How do fishermen decide which method and which net to use?

In addition to environmental conditions, such as weather and currents, there are other factors that fishing must deal with in order to successfully capture their prey. There are differences between small-scale fishing and industrial fishing.

  • What species of fish must be caught? Where are they staying?
  • Are boats available?
  • How big are they and how powerful are they?
  • How are the boats equipped? How many days can they stay at sea?
  • Do traditions influence, for example, local communities that fish on a small scale?
  • How much do the equipment, crew and operation of the boat cost?

Where to buy a fishing net?

Our company Redsinsa we are manufacturers of high quality and durable fishing nets. We manufacture different types of nets with materials such as Nylon or Polyethylene, both braided and twisted, you can take a look in the area of ​​our products.

Get in touch with us for qualified advice for any professional in the sector.