Hook & Line

Harvesting with Hook & Line is also referred to as Trolling, and it is an effective way of harvesting multiple species of wild BC seafood. Trolling involves a boat slowly drawing a line of baited hooks through the water. This technique involves dragging a hooked lure or bait through the water from a moving boat. The main aim is to lure in your target fish by tricking them into thinking that your bait is moving prey.

Hook & Line is an effective harvest method for various types of BC Seafood including Tuna, Salmon, Rockfish, and Lingcod. However, Tuna and Salmon are the primary fisheries that harvest with Hook & Line gear. Line depth, type of bait, and boat speed are different for each fishery. These factors help target specific species of fish while eliminating the amount of by-catch. Tall poles at the top or side of the boat, called outriggers, allow boats to troll with several lines without tangling. Boats drag multiple troll lines through the water, which stimulates schools of fish. The lines have hooks or jigs, and fish will get caught as they attempt to eat the bait. To be effective, trolling baits and lures must have the visual ability to attract fish and intrigue them with the way they move through the water.

Trolling for Albacore Tuna occurs during the summer and fall months when the Tuna migrate to the rich waters of Canada’s Pacific Coast. Harvesting for Albacore Tuna takes place far offshore in the open ocean. Jigs are baited with colorful plastic squid. Trollers will look for a school of fish, searching for breaks in temperature, where clear blue water with no plankton meets the green water rich with plankton. Albacore Tuna are found on the edge where the blue meets the green. Trollers will set the lines from the top of their boats and circle around to stimulate the Tuna to bait. Trolling for Tuna occurs at a higher speed than other types of species. Lines will be hauled on board and then brought on board by hand one at a time. Tuna are immediately cut at the top of the gills to release the blood and dehooked. All Albacore Tuna are flash-frozen within 10 to 20 minutes of the harvest.

See more about the Albacore Tuna fishery.

Trollers use hooks and lines with different lures to catch the various salmon species in BC. The lines are spread out on long poles that extend over the side of the boats. Various factors such as the type of lure, the way they are arranged, boat speed, water depth, and a fishermen’s experience are used to locate and identify salmon. Trollers can target only the desired species of fish. If any by-catch is incidentally caught, harvesters will return the product back to the ocean live. Caught fish are reeled in one by one and then dressed (gills removed) on board. Some trollers are equipped to produce top-quality FAS (frozen-at-sea) salmon to meet market demand year-round. Trollers harvest all five species of wild BC salmon and account for about 25% of the total commercial harvest.

See more about the Salmon fishery.