This is a difficult question to answer because it’s necessarily a subjective judgment. Both long-lining–the practice of setting numerous baited hooks spaced at intervals along a very long fishing line–and traditional crabbing, which involves underwater traps, have environmental issues associated with them, and both relate to the general concept of “bycatch,” which in the fishing industry means catching something you aren’t looking for. The most high-profile examples of bycatch include sea turtles and dolphins that are often caught in trawling nets. Long-lining is particularly harmful to birds, who are attracted to the stationary bits of offal that are placed on the hooks as bait; it’s estimated that 100,000 sea albatross a year are killed as a result of long-line fishing. Crab traps have their problems too. Mammals such as dolphins and manatees can be easily entangled in the lines that lead from the traps on the bottom of the sea to the floats on the surface that fishermen leave behind to mark their positions. I couldn’t find hard statistics on the numbers of bycatch associated with crabbing, so I’ll hazard a guess and say that long-lining appears at least to be recognized as a greater specific threat. That judgment is hard to quantify, though.
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