Sara Dickerman of the Wall Street Journal wrote an excellent article about the delights of troll-caught fish – tuna caught and processed immediately onboard, canned by solid chunks.
But the article continues a misconception common to many – and that’s equating “hook and line” with “troll caught.” The two are not one in and the same.
“Troll-caught” targets individual species and allows very little bycatch. Longliners also describe their operations as hook and line, and that includes more bycatch.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium, which promotes sustainability, offers advice on discerning the differences among the many methods for catching fish:
“Longlining employs a central fishing line that can range from one to 50 miles long; this line is strung with smaller lines of baited hooks, dangling at evenly spaced intervals. Longlines can be set near the surface to catch pelagic fish like tuna and swordfish, or laid on the sea floor to catch deepdwelling fish like cod and halibut. Many lines, however, can hook sea turtles, sharks and seabirds that are also attracted to the bait. By sinking longlines deeper or using different hooks, fishermen can reduce the bycatch problem.”
“Pole/troll fishermen use a fishing pole and bait to target a variety of fish, ranging from open ocean swimmers, like tuna and mahi mahi, to bottom dwellers, like cod. Pole/troll fishing is environmentally responsible and a good alternative to pelagic longlining. Unlike pelagic longlines, which catch sharks, marine mammals, sea turtles and seabirds as bycatch, pole/troll fishermen have very low bycatch rates.”
Again, we can’t emphasize it enough – troll-caught has less bycatch than longlining or hook and line. And net or trawl fishing results in the most bycatch or waste. The F/V St. Jude is a troller and all St Jude tuna is troll-caught to minimize bycatch and improve quality of the albacore delivered to you dining table.
The historic image of a troller is courtesy of the US Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons.