Fishing Gear Types


A dredge consists of a metal mesh bag held open by a frame. This type of gear is dragged along the seafloor to collect bottom-dwelling organism; shellfish are particularly targeted. Some dredges have teeth or rakes that penetrate the sediment and remove large infauna. Multiple dredges can be use simultaneously via a connecting beam system. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department dredges web page.  


Gillnets are single, double, or triple layers of net suspended vertically in the water column. The top of the net is connected to floats (headrope), while the bottom is weighted (footrope). Adjustment of the floats and weights allows gillnets to be positioned at varying depth, depending on the target species. Gillnets are generally deployed in large numbers and trap fish either by entangling the gills or by entangling all or part of the fish body. Variation in net mesh size allows fishermen to control the size of their catch. 

Set nets are stationary gillnets set near the bottom or at a particular depth. A subset of set gillnets,fixed nets are stretched between stakes driven into the bottom in intertidal areas. In contrast, drift nets are unanchored and float with the current. Drift nets are mostly used near the sea surface.Trammel nets are multi-layered gillnets usually set near the ocean bottom. Fish are ensnared in the middle layer, which has the finest mesh size. Encircling gillnets are set in a circle in shallow water. Fishers create a disturbance in the water that drives fish into the nets. Several gillnet types may be used in conjunction; combined gill-trammel nets are particularly popular. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquarculture Department gillnets web page.  


Fish are attracted to hooks-and-lines by natural or artificial bair placed on a hook, which captures the fish when it bites the bait. One or multiple lines may be used to catch pelagic, demersal, or benthic species. Different line and hook types are used depending on the target species. 

Set longlines are used near the ocean bottom and consist of regularly spaced shorter lines, or snoods, attached to a long main line. Drifting longlines have a main line kept near the surface by floats, with baited hooks attached to long snoods. Trolling lines are towed behind a vessel at the surface or depth, and use baited hooks or lures. Vertical lines are attached to a sinker and have one or multiple hooks.Poles and lines, consisting of a baited hook or lure attached to a pole, are the gear type most frequently used by recreational fishermen. Handlines, such as those used for squid jigging, are vertically weighted lines attached to bait or lures; fish are hauled up into the boat when caught. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department hooks and lines web page.  




Surrounding nets enclose fish in net from both sides and bottom, effectively preventing escape. 

Purse seine nets have a purse cable running through purse rings hanging from the bottom edge of the net. This allows the net to be drawn closed when the cable is tightened. Purse seine nets can be operated by one or two vessels either coastally or on the high seas. Lampara nets are shaped like slings and lack a purse cable. Fish are trapped in the finer mesh at the center of the "sling." Lampara nets are almost exclusively used to catch species inhabiting surface waters. Ring nets are purse seine-lampara hybrids; they are shaped like lampara nets but have a purse cable. Like lampara nets, ring nets must be used close to the ocean's surface. Beach seine nets are set close to the coast and hauled in from land. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Departmentsurrounding nets web page.  


Traps are baited or nonbaited stationary devices set on the bottom or, less frequently, in midwater. Fish enter the trap freely but are subsequently prevented from leaving. Large traps are more common in coastal waters while smaller traps may be deployed to greater depths. 

Pots consists of cages or baskets used to target shellfish, cephalopods, crustaceans, and reef fish. Pots are placed in multiple sets and the location of each pot is marked with a surface buoy. Fyke netsand stow nets are fixed to the bottom and rely on currents to bring fish into contact with them. Additionally, fyke nets use "wings" to guide the fish into mesh bags, where they are captured. Both types are most commonly set near shore. Barriers, weirs, fences and corrals are used in tidal areas and span the entirety of the water column. Fish enter through a narrow opening and are then trapped in a holding compartment. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department traps web page.


Trawls are cone-shaped nets with two, four, or more panels, ending in a bag. They are towed at midwater or near the bottom, and held open horizontally by heavy doors (otter trawls), by beams, or by the tension created by lines connecting the net to two separate vessels (pair trawls). The net opening is sustained vertically by floats and weights. Fish size and species is controlled by mesh size; pelagic, demersal, and benthic fish can be targeted. The recent development of trawls with large wheels (rockhoppers) prevents damage and tangling of nets, and has eliminated the disincentive to trawling along rugged seafloors. 

For more detailed information, please visit the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department trawl nets web page.