AFMA trials new longline gear
Initial Lumo live bait trials have proved successful
The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) is trialling new line weighting methods for use with live bait in pelagic longline fisheries.
The new ‘lumo’ systems being trialled in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery, in collaboration with the Australian Antarctic Division and the fishing industry, are expected to be cheaper, safer for crew and are designed to reduce risks of seabird bycatch while maintaining tuna catch rates.
The weights are luminescent and are attached next to the hook to allow the bait to sink faster, reducing the risk of seabirds taking the bait. Because of the way they attach to the line they also reduce the risk of crew member injuries from flying weights if the line snaps under pressure.
While rigorous scientific analysis is yet to be undertaken, initial feedback from commercial fishers involved in the trials suggests the new method is easy to use and does not affect catch rates.
Skipper of the Venessa S, Alistair Lau said that the lumos were easier to handle both setting and hauling.
Deckhand Bethany King also said that she was surprised by how many fish were caught using the lumos.
This latest trial builds on past trials that used similar technology with dead bait and which have resulted in changes in AFMA’s tuna and billfish fishery management arrangements.
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