Safe leads for safe heads: safer line weights for pelagic longline fisheries


Sullivan, B.J., Kibel, P., Robertson, G., Kibel, B., Goren, M., Candy, S.G. and Wienecke, B.



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Fisheries Research

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At-sea and on-shore trials were conducted to test the safety and effectiveness of an alternative line weight called the Safe Lead.  This new line weight is designed to reduce danger to the crew in the event of a bite-off by sliding down or off the line.  At-sea trials were conducted in South Africa and indicated that dangerous fly-backs, a result of a bite-off, were reduced when the Safe Lead was used. During these trials, only 4.2% of Safe Lead fly-backs reached the fishing vessel, compared to 73.3% with traditional leaded swivels.  On-shore trials indicated that the degree of slippage of the Safe Lead off the line was dependent on the distance from the Safe Lead to the hook and the tension on the line. When the Safe Lead was placed within 2m of the hook, it slid off the line under all four tension treatments.  Safe Leads appear to be both a cost effective and operationally simple alternative to traditional leaded swivels.