Line weighting is a widely used and effective way to get baited hooks beyond the diving range of seabirds more rapidly.
Fishing operations and seabird foraging zones overlap. Seabirds are attracted to fishing boats as they recognise them as a source of food.
Seabirds can get caught during both setting and hauling.
- During line setting – seabirds may attack baits on the surface or underwater to about 10 metres and become hooked or entangled in the fishing gear and drown.
- During line hauling – seabirds may attack leftover baits as the catch is brought on board. Birds may become hooked or entangled, and injured or killed.
There are two primary types of demersal line weighting regimes: external weighting and integrated line weighting.
External weights are manually attached to the mainline as the gear is set. These weights are used in addition to the anchors at the end of longlines.
Integrated weighted lines are constructed with lead beading which is woven into the rope. The lead weave results in an evenly distributed weighting along the entire line and provides a more consistent sink profile than externally weighted rope.
Line weighting is utilised in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, the Heard Island and McDonald Islands Fishery as well as the Macquarie Island Toothfish Fishery.
More information on line weighting –pelagic can be found at afma.gov.au.