Danish seine fishing is mainly used to catch fish species found on the ocean floor, also known as bottom species.
How Danish seine works
The gear is deployed with one end of a weighted rope attached to an anchor buoy. As the vessel sweeps in a large circle the rope is deployed sinking to the bottom, followed by the Danish seine net and another weighted rope until the vessel returns to the anchor buoy. Once a full circle has been made the gear is towed for approximately 30 minutes until the ropes come together.
The towing operation then ceases and the net is winched back onto the vessel scooping up fish that have been herded into its path by the ropes coming together on the bottom.
The operation takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Danish seine gear in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery must not have any net mesh less than 38 mm at any part of the net.
Environmental impacts and management
The Danish seine method of fishing has minimal impacts on the environment. The most recent ecological risk assessment identified one species, the Australian fur seal, as at risk from Danish seine fishing. The populations of these species are in the proximity of Danish seine operations in the Commonwealth Trawl Sector and considering the susceptibility of seals to the method of fishing, they are classified as at risk. There is currently a code of practice to minimise interaction with seals in this fishery.
The overall impact of Danish seine fishing on habitats is quite low with only three benthic habitats identifies as at risk. These habitats are generally on smooth bottom and support epifauna such as large sponges.