Line fisheries target species and fishing gear
Commercial line fishers generally target a diverse range of fin fish species, and use gear such as bottom handlines and trolling gear.
In the commercial fishery, 3 species dominate the total catch:
- coral trout, at about 35% of total line catch
- Spanish mackerel, at about 20%
- red throat emperor, at about 15%.
The other significant species (or species groups) are:
- coral reef fin fish including cods, emperors and tropical snappers
- snapper (Pagrus auratus)
- spotted mackerel.
The main types of gear used in line fisheries are bottom handlines and trolling gear, with drop (or trot) line limited to the deepwater multiple-hook fishery (operating outside the 200m bathymetric line).
Bottom handlines are used for demersal fish (those that spend most of the time near the bottom - for example, coral trout). Handlines are single lines with baited hooks or gangs of hooks lowered from a stationary boat into the water by a rod or by hand. This is a common fishing method in most of the line fisheries, with the notable exception of the pelagic fishery.
Trolling rigs are used for pelagic fish (those that swim in open water, such as Spanish and spotted mackerel). Trolling involves towing lures or baited hooks on lines behind a boat.
Droplines are vertically set lines, with baited hooks, that are dropped from stationary boats into deepwater areas such as water adjacent to offshore drop-offs and submarine canyons. Droplining is usually conducted in water more than 200m deep to target deepwater species such as rosy jobfish and goldband snapper.