Efficacy of bait species and baiting pattern on hooking rates and bait loss during longline fishing in Lakshadweep Sea, India
Bait species, baiting pattern and bait loss rates are key factors which determine the success of longline fishing operations. The catching efficiency of three bait species, viz., Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta), Indian oil sardine (Sardinella longiceps) and smoothbelly sardinella (Amblygaster clupeoides) and its loss rates were evaluated. The effect of baiting pattern (horizontal/vertical) on longline fishing performance were also studied. The results suggest that change in bait species has no significant effect on the overall hooking rate in the longline operations, though variation was observed in catch composition. Changes in pattern of baiting (horizontal and vertical) had no significant influence on hooking rate. The variation in bait loss among three baits tested were not found to be statistically significant. Depth of operation has no significant effect on the bait loss, within the range of 100 m depth. However, the bait loss was observed to increase with soaking time. Scavenging by the small fishes was frequently observed during the study which may increase the rate of drop- off of the bait from the hooks.