Anadromous- Refers to a fish which lives in saltwater, but travels into freshwater to spawn- i.e. salmon

Bandit rigs- Also known as vertical fishing rigs; The predominant fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, wherein a single line, with 10 to 40 or more drop hooks attached, is fished vertically from the boat. The lines are usually   hauled in with the aid of electric reels. Each boat will have between 4 and 8 bandit rigs.

Bathypelagic- Refers to the segment of the water column extending from about 3300 feet (1000 m.) to 13300 feet (4000 m.) Home to large mammals and deep-dwelling fishes, but rarely utilized as a fishing grounds due to the extreme depth and relatively small populations of commercially viable fish.                        

Benthic- The ‘floor’ of a body of water.   The term is used at any depth –i.e. catfish and snapper are benthic fish.

Benthopelagic- Refers to fish that lives in or travels in both bottom and midwater areas. Inshore examples would be rays and skates; offshore species would include brotulas and roughies.

Castnet- A method of fishing, involving a small thrown net. Used for small surface schooling fishes.

Catadromous- Fish that live exclusively in freshwater, but migrate to saltwater to spawn. Eels and mullets are examples.

Continental shelf- The underwater edge of the continent. Off Texas, the shelf extends quite far out. Chile has a very narrow shelf, which is why deep-dwelling creatures like the toothfish are so easily harvested.

Continental slope- Part of the seafloor that connects the shelf to the deep plains below. Usually sharply inclined.

Demersal- see benthic

Dorsal spines- the bony support of the dorsal fins. Dorsal spines are responsible for most fish-related injuries.

Dredging- The preferred oyster harvest method in Texas, involving a large metal frame equipped with fork-like tines dragged behind the oyster boat.

Family- see taxonomy

Fathom- nautical unit of depth measurement. One fathom is six feet.

Genus- see taxonomy

Gill rakers- bony structures emanating from the gill arch opposite the gills. Rakers help to retain food in the throat of the fish.

Gillnet- a method of fishing involving the laying of long nets, with mesh sizes calculated according to the target species. The fish are able to pass only halfway through the nets, at which point they attempt to ‘back out’, thus catching their gills on the nets and hopelessly entangling themselves. Happily, this method of fishing is outlawed everywhere in Texas. It is still used to some extent in the harvesting of some species in the Eastern Gulf.

Handline- A rather old-fashioned fishing technique still in some use in the Gulf. Quite thick monofilament, about 2-5 feet long, with two or three drop hooks and a five to eight pound drop weight attached, is tied to a length of rope about 25 to 40 feet long. The fisherman drops the line in the water, and pulls the fish in by hand. There is no mechanization involved, at least with traditional handlining.

IFQ – Individual Fishing Quota

ITQ – individual Transferrable Quota
TAC – Total Allowable Catch- The total amount of a species that may be caught in a year. Includes recreational and

commercial catches.
Epipelagic- refers to fish which live and/ or feed in the uppermost level of the water column, from the surface to more than 600 feet.

Mesopelagic- The layer of the water column extending from about 600 feet down to more than 3000 feet.   Highly pelagic species such as swordfish and many sharks inhabit the mesopelagic zone.

Neritic- the area of the ocean extending from low tide to the continental shelf. The majority of fisheries in the Gulf are concentrated in the neritic zone.

Oceanodromous – Refers to fish that migrate throughout different parts of the ocean, but never into saltwater.

Pelagic- The whole of the water column, down to almost the very surface of the ocean. Pelagic also refers to fish which may be found at very shallow to exceedingly deep water. Whales are pelagic creatures.

Soft roe – sperm or sperm sacs

Species- see taxonomy

Taxonomy- The system used to classify living organisms. Classifications follow the using method: Kingdom- Phylum- Class- Order- Family- Genus- Species. Classifications for specific organisms are created by combining the genus and species names (i.e Rachycentron canadum)

Tonging- a method of oyster harvest which uses long tongs to pick the oysters from reefs.

Traumatogenic – A fish, a part of a fish, or a fish structure which is capable of causing pain or injury- i.e. some dorsal spines, stingers, glands, and teeth

Trawling- Method used for shrimping. Large nets connected to wooden doors (or ‘planers’) are dragged behind the boat at the seafloor.

Trolling- a method of fishing used for pelagic species like king mackerel, sharks, and tuna. Baits or lures, several at a time, are dragged behind the boat at speed of up to 10 knots. The preferred method for kingfish and Spanish mackerel fishing.

Trotline- A method of fishing used for the harvest of freshwater and inshore saltwater fish, wherein a heavy line, with as many as 500 or more hooks is suspended close to the bottom by the use of weights and buoys. In Texas and Louisiana, black drum, sheepshead, and trouts are caught with trotlines.