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Why Do Fishermen Wash Their Nets? (And Is It Necessary?)

Why Do Fishermen Wash Their Nets? (And Is It Necessary?)

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Being a fisherman is certainly not going to be easy. It takes a lot of work to catch fish, and this is especially true for those who try to catch large numbers of fish using nets.

The work that fishermen do is very important to the survival of many communities. People rely on fishermen to catch the food that they need to live.

If you’ve been learning a bit about fishing as of late, then you might be surprised that fishermen wash their nets. Some might wonder why this needs to be done since the nets are being thrown in the water.

Does it really matter whether or not a net has been washed? What purpose does washing the nets serve?

Keep reading to learn why washing the nets is imperative for fishermen. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why it needs to be done.

Debris Builds up on the Nets

The most basic reason why fishermen must wash their nets has to do with debris. Over time, debris is going to build up on the nets.

If the fishermen don’t wash the nets, then a lot of organic waste is going to remain attached to the nets. They will begin to smell foul, and they’ll also be a danger to the fish that are being caught.

Often, people refer to dirty nets as “fouled nets” in the community. These nets haven’t been washed properly and pose a danger to the fish.

One of the most significant issues that occurs due to dirty nets involves fish contracting gill disorders. The welfare of the fish becomes compromised when they’re caught in dirty nets.

Understand that fish are caught for many different reasons. Fish are caught for food, but some are caught with the intention of being sold in pets or for other purposes.

When the fouled nets come into contact with the fish, the fish will have to deal with reduced oxygen levels. This has a very negative impact on the gills of the fish that are caught in the net.

Gill disease is a real problem that people need to consider. One of the ways to combat this issue is to simply clean the nets thoroughly.

Cleaning fishing nets will remove organic debris and eliminate the presence of potentially harmful bacteria. Most large-scale fishing operations have some sort of net cleaning procedure that they do.

There Are Potential Dangers

There are dangers associated with net cleaning that you should know about, too. You’ll find that there are organisms that are responsible for the fouling of the nets.

Hydroids and anemones are some of the most common organisms that are capable of causing gill damage. If organisms such as this are present when the nets are being cleaned, then it can become a problem.

These organisms actually have stinging cells that can cause fish to have irritated gills. Even fragments of these cells can wind up causing issues for fish.

Typically, fishermen put the nets through a type of high-pressure cleaning process. The worry is that this process could create conditions where harmful cells will thrive.

The idea is that it could replicate conditions that can cause a boom in these cells. However, it’s possible to keep this from happening by taking the right precautions.

The Best Way to Clean the Nets

When fishermen clean their nets, it’s going to be imperative for them to focus on keeping things as clean as they can. This needs to be accomplished without making the cleaning process take too long.

If cleaning periods can be kept short, then it’ll be much safer. One recommendation is to set up cleaning cycles every two weeks.

During this time, hydroids won’t be able to complete their life cycles, and that means that they won’t become a problem for the nets. You should be able to keep the fish from coming into contact with harmful organisms by taking these precautions.

In some cases, it’ll be safer to move nets to land-based locations for cleaning, too. For example, if the cleaning site has poor water exchange, it can create more problems.

You can eliminate issues such as this by doing everything on land. What is going to be practical will likely depend on each specific operation and the circumstances that they have.

Regardless, it’s important to understand the need for safe cleaning. Keeping the nets very clean will be better for the fish and should reduce instances of fish having gill problems due to being captured in the nets.

Even if you’re putting in the effort to clean the nets, it’s going to be important to monitor gill health. You should be inspecting the fish in the nets to see how they’re doing from time to time.

General inspections will help you to learn about any problems. The inspections can be a combination of different methods.

Simple visual inspections will allow you to take note of any obvious gill issues. You’ll be able to take steps to help things if you spot anything out of the ordinary.

Histopathology will also be crucial when you want to get detailed information on how the fish are doing. Doing everything that you can to stay on top of potential gill issues will make a difference.

This will ensure that you can alter your strategy if something is amiss with the nets. Simply being proactive can help you to get much better results.

Hobbyists Don’t Always Use Nets

Of course, hobbyists don’t always use nets when they go fishing. If you’re someone who just likes to fish for sport, then you may or may not use nets.

For someone who is just looking to land a big fish, it can be helpful to have a net. Having a net will make it easier to haul a big fish into your fishing boat.

However, it isn’t necessary to have a net to get the job done. You can reel the fish in and pull it up and into the boat if you know what you’re doing.

Many hobbyists don’t use fishing nets at all. Others find it to be convenient and have nets that they bring out when they need help hauling fish into the boat.

If you utilize nets as a hobbyist fisherman, then you’ll still need to keep them clean. The issues with fouled nets mentioned above won’t apply to you so much, but it’ll still be necessary to eliminate organic debris.

Nets can get pretty gross if you don’t ever clean them. They will have all sorts of weird bits of organic debris stuck to them, and they will begin to smell horrible if you don’t clean them properly.

Most hobbyist fishermen will simply clean all of their equipment when they get back. This ensures that everything stays in good working order for the next time that they want to go out to try to land some big fish.

How Do You Clean a Fishing Net?

Cleaning a simple fishing net will not be all that difficult. You can start by filling a tub or a sink with hot water.

Next, you want to soak the net in the hot water for ten to fifteen minutes. After this, you’re just going to need to take the time to scrub the net using a brush of some sort.

Many people choose to use old toothbrushes to clean fishing nets. Most types of bristled brushes will work to get this job done nicely.

Rinse the net and keep scrubbing it so that you can remove any debris that is stuck to it. You should be able to wash away the debris that you’ve loosened up with the scrubbing motions.

Be sure to turn the net inside out and do the other side as well. It might be necessary to turn the net inside out and revert it back several times before you’ve removed every single trace of debris.

Give the fishing net a final rinse and everything should be good. You can visually inspect the net to see if you missed any spots.

Shake the net a bit to remove excess water. With this done, you can start drying it with a soft cloth if you’d like to.

Others might find it more convenient to allow the net to air dry. Simply pick whichever drying method you prefer.

Final Thoughts

You’ve now learned everything that you need to know about why fishermen clean their nets. It’s really important for them to keep the nets clean for several reasons.

If you’re just a hobbyist fisherman, then you don’t want your nets to smell foul. They get gunked up with debris that will make them harder to use as intended, too.

You’ll need to wash the nets thoroughly after each fishing trip. This will ensure that the nets are good to go the next time that you need them.

Large-scale fishing operations also use nets. They need to clean the nets to prevent issues with fish developing gill problems in the nets.

They have procedural cleaning routines that they go through to try to keep the nets clean. There are certain dangers that they have to deal with if they don’t do a good job of washing the nets.

Washing the nets needs to be done in the right way so that certain organisms won’t have a chance to grow in the nets. Now that you know this, it’s easier to appreciate the importance of cleaning nets.


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