The potential of jig fishing as an energy efficient method for catching whitefish around Shetland

Paul Macdonald, Chevonne Laurenson, Susan Marrs

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Jig fishing, or automated handlining, was last attempted commercially in
Shetland in the early 1990s. However, although the initiative was considered
to be a success, the metier has not gained precedence over otter trawling.
The recent difficulties encountered by the whitefish sector combined with
advances in jigging machine technology indicated that an evaluation of this
approach should be revisited. Jig fishing has significant economic benefits as
little fuel is consumed in comparison to trawling. This reduces vessel running
costs which, with current fuel prices, can also increase profit margins
significantly. The aim of this study, carried out over a 15 month period, was to
evaluate the commercial viability of jig fishing for whitefish around the
Shetland Isles. Five hundred and sixty eight boxes of fish valued at £29,000
were caught and landed during 119 days fishing. The principal species in the
catch were saithe (Pollachius virens) and pollack (Pollachius pollachius),
while small quantities of cod (Gadus morhua), ling (Molva molva) and tusk
(Brosme brosme) were also caught. Fuel costs while jig fishing were
significantly lower than when otter trawling. Potential income combined with
reduced running costs indicate that this metier has considerable potential to
be successfully implemented by inshore fishermen.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2007
EventICES Annual Science Conference 2007 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 17 Sep 200721 Sep 2007


ConferenceICES Annual Science Conference 2007


Cite this

Macdonald, P., Laurenson, C., & Marrs, S. (2007). The potential of jig fishing as an energy efficient method for catching whitefish around Shetland. Paper presented at ICES Annual Science Conference 2007, Helsinki, Finland.