Commercial fishing is a major economic driver in coastal states, especially those on the Pacific ocean. Commercial fishing is also a source of major contention for environmental groups that feel it is detrimental to the environment over the long term.
No matter how you're involved with commercial fishing and how you feel about the related environmental issues, having a basic understanding of commercial fishing vocabulary will help you understand issues you may encounter at work or in the media.
Purse seiningPurse seining is a method that commercial fishermen use of capturing entire schools of pelagic fish. Pelagic fish live in the ocean away from land, but also off the ocean bottom.
Dredge fishingDredge fishing, which is a popular commercial fishing method, employs the use of a weighted net made of metal rings that is dragged across the seafloor to collect bottom-dwelling shellfish.
BycatchBycatch refers to the capture of non-target species as an unintended result of commercial fishing. Bycatch is a hot-point for environmental groups that argue against current commercial fishing practices.
NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service explains how bycatch can affect sensitive populations of fish and marine mammals, and what is being done to remedy the problem.
Global Maritime Distress and Safety SystemThe Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, or GMDSS, is a combination of satellite and radio systems that provides for automatic alerting and calls for help when the radio operator may not have time to send an SOS.
U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center explains the GMDSS in great detail. Crewmen aboard a commercial fishing vessel may be required to be trained and certified in the use of the GMDSS.
LongliningLonglining refers to a long rope with separate lines and bait stations attached that is deployed from a commercial fishing vessel. The rope is supported by buoys, and the ship collects it once there's been time for fish to bite at the baited lines.
ExploitationExploitation, measured as either a pattern or a rate, quantifies what proportion and distribution of the fish population is killed by commercial fishing efforts.
Northeast Fisheries Science Center explains how the exploitation pattern and rate is calculated for any given fish population. The exploitation pattern and rate are typically calculated over the space of a year, and may be affected by fish migratory patterns or changes in commercial fishing practices.