During the last decade there has been a marked development of new and better fishing gear and technical solutions. Commercial technologies and know-how is also important for science, especially when focusing on areas that are out of the range of normal scientific equipment.
Since passive gear, such as longline technology, can often be placed in areas that are inaccessible to active gear such as trawls, such equipment might prove important for scientific use. Other positive characteristics are the selective properties, and the fact that longlines are more environmentally friendly than many other fishing gears.
To optimize sampling, especially of larger mobile fish species a professional longliner with state of the art equipment should ideally be operating together with the research vessels. The longliner should also be able to use other passive gears like gillnets and traps. Results from these catches could later be compared to the catches by the research vessel in areas where both could operate. This sampling strategy would significantly increase the areas available for sampling and the size range of many of the species caught. More environmentally friendly sampling and increased efficiency in the handling of such gears is other important factors.
The aim of the project is to gain more information about the deep-water environment on the MAR and its flanks. Since longlines are found to operate well in deep waters, it is evident that use of a longliner will improve the scientific investigation in the area and provide information on species composition and samples for biological studies that will not be provided by the use of trawls alone. However, fishing with longlines in deep waters requires skilled and experienced fishermen and boats and equipment adjusted for fisheries in such areas. Therefore, collaboration with a commercial longliner will be of significant value as contribution to the investigations related to MAR-ECO. It will also provide firsthand information from longline catches which at present is scarce from the MAR area.
What can we offer partner X: The use of longlines as fishing gear in this highly profiled research project would be an excellent opportunity for demonstrating the utility of a technology which appears more environmentally friendly than for instance trawl. This accounts for e.g. impact on the habitat on the fishing ground, use of horsepower and fuel in the fishing process, and low loss of gear. Also longlines will provide different catch composition than trawl implying that valuable information on both species and size ranges can be achieved.
Resource needs and schedule: To conduct the longline trial there is a need for a professional longliner to conduct sampling. Avessel with previous experience from deep-sea fisheries is an obvious benefit for such an investigation. Cooperation between the longliner and the Norwegian research vessel G.O. Sars in the summer 2004 will provide samples and information from a wider range of species and sizes (of the species present in both gears). Focus will be on sampling in areas not easily accessible to towed gears. I addition to collaboration with a commercial longline vessel, collaboration with gear producers would be of great value to adjust gear components and to improve technology.