For more information on ASMI’s campaigns to promote Alaskan seafood, please contact the Southern Europe office, located in Barcelona, Spain, to request media information or artwork.

David McClellan

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Regional Representative

C/ Borrell 7 – Local 19 08190 St. Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) Spain

Tel:+34 93 589 8547
Fax:+34 93 589 7051

E-mail: [email protected]

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Fishing Methods

Fishing in Alaska is an activity that takes place throughout the year; It is divided into several fishing seasons and different capture methods, depending on the type of fish and/or shellfish that are being caught.

Wild Salmon Fishing Methods

Gillnet Fishing

The trammel nets form a wall of gillnets in the water, suspended from corks that float on the surface, which can span a distance of 275 to 550 meters and extend to varying depths. The term “gill” refers to the fact that salmon that try to swim through the net get hooked by the gills in the meshes of the net.


  • Derivative Net Fishing: Vessels set nets on salmon migratory routes along the coast and hoisted caught fish on board. Driftnet fishing vessels range from 8 to 13 meters in length.
  • Fixed gillnet fishing: A small boat or skiff extends a gillnet from shore to catch salmon that swim close to shore. After keeping it in the water for a certain time, the net is lifted by hand.


Species: Sockeye, Keta, Coho, King and Pink

Trolling Fishing

Trolling is a type of artisanal fishing that is practiced only in Southeast Alaska.


Trollers are small boats manned by one or two people that fish with longlines with artificial or natural baits. In general, larger fishing areas are assigned to fishing boats, but their catch volumes are lower than those of net fishing. Trollers often fish offshore and intercept salmon offshore as they begin their migration through inland waters.


Salmon trolling focuses on QUALITY and not quantity.


Species: King, Coho and Keta

Purse Seine Fishing with Net

The purse seiners have a circular net that forms a bag that closes at the bottom. The net is kept floating by synthetic corks arranged on the surface and a skiff drags one end of the net around a school of salmon to enclose them in the bag, the net is then hoisted on board with a driving pulley and a winch.


The purse seiners usually cast their nets in areas close to the coast where large schools of salmon gather. The size of the mesh nets used in purse seine fishing is smaller than that of gillnets. The purse seines are about 460 meters long and 30 meters deep, although their size varies by region.


Purse seiners are the largest salmon fishing vessels and those that catch the largest volumes.


Species: Pink, Keta and Sockeye

Whitefish & Shellfish Fishing Methods

Pot Fishing

Pot Fishing

The pots are steel cages covered by a net, which are baited and placed on the seabed connected with a rope to a surface buoy.


For this type of fishing, vessels similar in length similar to that of longliners are used.


Fishermen hoist the pots and return unwanted species to the ocean.

Species: Black Cod, Pacific Cod, Pacific Halibut, King and Snow Crabs, Shrimp and Clam
Pot fishing - Alaska Seafood



Trawl Net fishing uses a large funnel-shaped net pulled by a fishing boat. Trawlers are the largest vessels used to fish for whitefish in Alaska. They use advanced means to detect and identify schools of fish underwater, allowing vessels to adjust the trawl of the net relative to fish and the seabed and avoid catching untargeted species.

  • Mid-water trawling: The net drags approximately 100-400 meters deep.
  • Bottom trawling: The net is dragged just above the seabed, using rollers to avoid damaging the habitat.


Species: Alaska pollock, flounder / plaice / flounder, Pacific cod, Black cod, Pacific redfish.

Trawling - Alaska Seafood

Longline Fishing

In longline fishing, a main line with baited hooks distributed at regular intervals is arranged on the ocean floor.
Longliners are smaller than trawlers.


In this type of fishing, fishermen can select the fish they tackle and release those of different species to the ocean alive.
So-called “freezer longliners” can freeze fish at sea.


Species: Alaska pollock, Pacific halibut, Black Cod, Pacific cod.

Leaded Lures Fishing

The vertical fishing (jigging or jig fishing in English) is a method that uses multiple hooks in line with leaded artificial lures (jigs) and an electric reel that generates pulls of the line up and down.


Each drum can have up to five lines and each line can be rigged with up to 30 hooks.


In this type of fishing, vessels of a length similar to that of the smaller ones used in pot and longline fishing are used. Fish caught are classified and those of unwanted species are returned alive to the sea.


Species: Black cod, Pacific cod.


The shell fishermen dive from the boats and dive to the seabed, where they select the shellfish by hand.


A compressor (hookah) continuously pumps air through a tube to divers while they search for seafood.


Divers extract the shellfish from its habitat on the seabed with a rake or a pressurized water jet and keep it in a mesh bag tied around the waist until they return to the boat waiting for them on the surface.


Species: Clams, Urchins and Sea Cucumbers.

Fishing with Dredgers

Scallops are harvested with a dredge, a rectangular metal frame approximately 12 feet (3.6 meters) wide attached to a hip mesh scoop net.


Vessels often drag two dredgers slowly over the seabed where there are scallops for up to an hour before hoisting them.


Species: Scallops.

Shovel / Rake Fishing

The shellfish men travel, either by walking along the beach or in a boat (skiff), to the clam banks where they are collected with shovels and rakes and transported in buckets.


Species: Razors Clams.