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Old 06-08-2017, 06:41   #1
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Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Here in the Med we see many different types of fishing floats. I understand many of them are marking nets, but I want to make sure I understand what I am looking at. Most of them will be two or three floats, and oftentimes have a 3-5 foot pole with a small flag on top. However, there is usually only one set of these. I have seen these in 5000 feet of water, which really surprised me.

Most of the local boats seem to not bother avoiding these floats. If they are marking a net it seems prudent to me to give them a wide berth, but I see no sign of others doing so. I have been trying to avoid them, but there have been times when I did not see them and have sailed within 50 feet with no adverse effects.

So what am I seeing? If this is marking a net of some type how do I know how to avoid it if I can't see the other end? Is the net weighted so that surface boats don't foul it? Any help appreciated as I am tired of dodging floats if there is no need!

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Old 06-08-2017, 06:53   #2
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Where are you operating? As this will give us a better clue as to what, most likely, is on the other end of the floats. Along with allowing for comments on what the general practices are in that region.
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:00   #3
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Currently in Sicily and on the east coast of Italy.

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Old 06-08-2017, 07:07   #4
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Sounds like you are encountering drift nets. The buoy on the ends of the net will have a pole. The ones in the middle won't have a pole. They can be up to 2.5 kilometers long.
I don't know how deep they set them. It may be safe to sail between the buoys but until someone who knows more than me tells you, I'd go around the end of the net.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drift_netting
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Old 06-08-2017, 07:39   #5
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Long Line Fishing (for fish or crabs) involves the use of long lines that have either hooks or pots or traps attached to them, with buoys at the ends. They can be set deep or shallow depending upon what they are trying to catch.

These can be set in relatively deep water, depending upon the type of fish (cod, tuna, mackerel, swordfish) or crab they want to catch.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long...longlining.jpg

I was recently sailing around parts of Newfoundland and had the opportunity to meet and speak with local fishermen, and to observe their gear.

They used long lines, with their crab pots attached along the lines, and those were set in 600 feet of water. The lines had a buoy at each end, with a pole mounted RADAR reflector on them. Each line on the boats (about 50 footers) carried 150 pots. They set two trap or long lines, for a total of 300 pots. They were fishing for Snow Crab (Opilio).

In comparison, the inshore cod fishing was done in 60 feet of water.

In the past, I saw long line fishing done in the Pacific, off Hawaii, where they were fishing for tuna or swordfish.

In the Med, I would suspect they are fishing for Tuna or Mackeral.

-----------------

Once, while sailing from Hawaii to California, the sailboat I was on snagged a fishing net, a drift net, that seemed large in comparison to the boat, but was probably a fragment discarded or lost by fishermen. There were no visible buoys. This caused great drag on the boat. One of the crew had to go over the side to cut it loose, something to be avoided if possible.
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:17   #6
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve77 View Post
Here in the Med we see many different types of fishing floats. I understand many of them are marking nets, but I want to make sure I understand what I am looking at. Most of them will be two or three floats, and oftentimes have a 3-5 foot pole with a small flag on top. However, there is usually only one set of these. I have seen these in 5000 feet of water, which really surprised me.

Most of the local boats seem to not bother avoiding these floats. If they are marking a net it seems prudent to me to give them a wide berth, but I see no sign of others doing so. I have been trying to avoid them, but there have been times when I did not see them and have sailed within 50 feet with no adverse effects.

So what am I seeing? If this is marking a net of some type how do I know how to avoid it if I can't see the other end? Is the net weighted so that surface boats don't foul it? Any help appreciated as I am tired of dodging floats if there is no need!

Steve
My experience in the Med is that if you see a single float (or single bunch) it usually is a fish trap sunken on a single line beneath the float/s. It may be drifting in deep waters - the owners know how to find them.
You may sail close to these type of traps. However, you have to look clarefully before you come close as sometimes you will see a pair of them in a rather short distance between the floats (or even a triplet). Then there will be a net between the floats and it will be prudent to go out around the set. Once again it is safe to pass close to the float if you are out of the set and sure the float is the last one...
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Old 06-08-2017, 09:27   #7
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

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Originally Posted by HopCar View Post
Sounds like you are encountering drift nets. The buoy on the ends of the net will have a pole. The ones in the middle won't have a pole. They can be up to 2.5 kilometers long.
I don't know how deep they set them. It may be safe to sail between the buoys but until someone who knows more than me tells you, I'd go around the end of the net.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drift_netting
Thanks, Hopcar. What you are describing is what I would expect to see. A flag on the ends with intermediate buoys along the net to support it makes perfect sense.

There have been a few places where there appeared to be a flag on one end and a single float on the other, several hundred yards away. But again, boats were simply zooming between the two with no concern. There were even times where the net appeared to be tended by a fisherman in a small boat, sitting out there drifting. If there was a danger of someone fouling his net I would expect him to be jumping up and down waving his arms. This has not been the case.

The situations that really concern me are the ones where I can see only a single float with no idea where the other end is. Giving a fishing float a 2.5 km berth is impossible since I can't even see them that far away. And never mind sailing at night!

So is the answer that I am seeing drift nets that are long enough that only one end is apparent? And they are set low enough to not be a concern to boat traffic?

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Old 06-08-2017, 09:47   #8
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

I would avoid them until I understood what they were in some detail. Where I live, fishermen leave their main net-anchor buoys in the water all the time, to mark their claim. If a net is actually present, there will be a line of small floats between the main buoys. Sometimes it's safe to sail around them, and sometimes it is not.
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Old 06-08-2017, 10:35   #9
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

My experience has been that a single flag pole will be marking a pot below it and you are safe to go quite close, but more often than not it will paired up with a second pole. In this case there will be a net strung between them. Some fishermen in the med will colour code the flags, partially to identify them as theirs. but in some cases, you can tell the inshore and offshore ends of the net from the flags colour or quantity. You will get the hang of this with time. These nets generally are sunken below the surface by several feet and you can sail over them, as I often do, but then I have a long keel and enclosed prop shaft, so even if the net was on the surface I would probably be ok. If you look at the poles, you can often see a second marker buoy on the line holding the net up, a metre or two from the pole. This gives you the direction the net is lying, and if you follow that line you will usually spot the second pole. I'm currently in SE asia, where a similar setup occurs, but some of the nets have white floats every 5-10 metres, and can run for many hundreds of metres, I also sail over the top of these, but only because of my hull shape, for most boats you should find the end and go around it. Generally there will be a fishing boat somewhere nearby keeping an eye on the net, and will often let you know if it's going to be a problem.
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Old 06-08-2017, 14:59   #10
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

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Originally Posted by steve77 View Post
Here in the Med we see many different types of fishing floats. I understand many of them are marking nets, but I want to make sure I understand what I am looking at. Most of them will be two or three floats, and oftentimes have a 3-5 foot pole with a small flag on top. However, there is usually only one set of these. I have seen these in 5000 feet of water, which really surprised me.

Most of the local boats seem to not bother avoiding these floats. If they are marking a net it seems prudent to me to give them a wide berth, but I see no sign of others doing so. I have been trying to avoid them, but there have been times when I did not see them and have sailed within 50 feet with no adverse effects.

So what am I seeing? If this is marking a net of some type how do I know how to avoid it if I can't see the other end? Is the net weighted so that surface boats don't foul it? Any help appreciated as I am tired of dodging floats if there is no need!

Steve
Between Quebec city and the Great Lakes, id you see one pole you will see a second one that indicates the entrance and the end of hoop net and they are generally a few feet below the surface to approximately 9 - 10 feet. You do not want to go between them. The pole are about 25 feet long and are just stuck in the mud. The top are usually marked with an empty plastic oil container with the name of the fisherman.
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Old 06-08-2017, 15:29   #11
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

As you are in the med I would suggest answers about other regions may be irrelevant!

What you are seeing are the start or end of a line of fishing pots. Your are normally save to sail between them but not close to the markers as they sometimes have long say 10m pick up lines attached.

Sometimes the markers are for drift nets: same rules applied,

Fish farms are normally well marked and come with a guard vessel; they are normally charted.

Tunney nets are also marked with lights and a guard vessel.

In the last 4 months I have only seen one net that was a surface obstacle and this was marked with small floats and positioned within a charted restricted fishing area.
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Old 06-08-2017, 15:53   #12
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

A good practice,when crossing a suspected fishing net/floating line or even floating seaweed/flotsam,is to shift to neutral & coast until clear. This helps to prevent fouling the prop. Never use reverse near floating stuff.

Rectify any "rope catcher" protrusions on your hull.

https://www.dropbox.com/home?preview=Rope+stop.JPG

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Old 06-08-2017, 22:51   #13
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
A good practice,when crossing a suspected fishing net/floating line or even floating seaweed/flotsam,is to shift to neutral & coast until clear. This helps to prevent fouling the prop. Never use reverse near floating stuff.

Rectify any "rope catcher" protrusions on your hull.

https://www.dropbox.com/home?preview=Rope+stop.JPG

/ Len
Around Malta/Sicily you may find single plastic bottles as buoys marking a catch device for Lampuki. The fish likes the shade and so the fishermen lower down a palm leave and a catch device. You can drive by quite close as there is no net as far as I know.
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Old 07-08-2017, 00:47   #14
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

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Originally Posted by Mark Thurlow View Post
As you are in the med I would suggest answers about other regions may be irrelevant!

What you are seeing are the start or end of a line of fishing pots. Your are normally save to sail between them but not close to the markers as they sometimes have long say 10m pick up lines attached.

Sometimes the markers are for drift nets: same rules applied,

Fish farms are normally well marked and come with a guard vessel; they are normally charted.

Tunney nets are also marked with lights and a guard vessel.

In the last 4 months I have only seen one net that was a surface obstacle and this was marked with small floats and positioned within a charted restricted fishing area.
Fair winds and carry a rope cutter!
Thanks, this would explain the complete lack of regard for these floats shown by local boats.

One question I still don't understand - Some of these floats have to be marking nets due to the water depth. Why don't these nets have intermediate floats along their length? Do they truly only have surface floats at either end?

Also, for some of the other posters, perhaps the answers from other regions may not apply to me today, but I still appreciate the input to give me a better understanding of practices in areas I may visit someday.

Thanks to al!

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Old 07-08-2017, 04:29   #15
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Re: Fishing floats, traps, and nets

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Thanks, this would explain the complete lack of regard for these floats shown by local boats.

One question I still don't understand - Some of these floats have to be marking nets due to the water depth. Why don't these nets have intermediate floats along their length? Do they truly only have surface floats at either end?

Also, for some of the other posters, perhaps the answers from other regions may not apply to me today, but I still appreciate the input to give me a better understanding of practices in areas I may visit someday.

Thanks to al!

Steve
Long line fishing can be and is done in deep water, sometimes thousands of feet deep. The long lines may not go to the bottom, but may be deeper than your Keel or not hanging at the surface. In other words, two widely spaced buoys does not necessarily mean a NET is being used between them. .there could be a long line below with baited hooks along it or crab pots (as mentioned in my earlier post).

Hope that helps.
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