Sanford utilises a variety of fishing methods to harvest our catches. Some methods, like trawling, have been developed by us over 100 years, while other methods like Precision Seafood Harvesting are in the early stages of development, aimed at eliminating unintended bycatch.



Longline fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses a line with baited hooks attached at intervals by branch lines known as snoods.

Sanford’s deepwater longline fisheries catch Ling and Toothfish. These vessels freeze their catch at sea, with some voyages lasting more than 90 days, travelling as far as the Ross Sea and the waters adjacent to South Georgia.

Sanford works closely with Southern Seabird Solutions to continually develop new ways to mitigate seabird interactions with our longline vessels. Our fishers are the real champions of this and are always looking for ways to limit these interactions.

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Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind a vessel.

Sanford purchased its first trawler in 1900, the Minnie Cassey, at 101 feet long, with two 25 HP steam engines. Today, we operate trawlers ranging in length from 26 to 64 meters. We are continually developing and refining the equipment used in our trawling operations to provide energy efficiencies, limit unintended by-catch, and improve fish quality.

Our most innovative new programme is Precision Seafood Harvesting, in partnership with Sealord, Aotearoa Fisheries, Plant and Food and the Ministry of Primary Industries. This radical new technique does away with traditional trawl nets. Instead, fish are contained and swim comfortably underwater inside a large flexible PVC liner where they can be sorted for the correct size and species before being brought onboard the fishing vessel.

Precision Seafood Harvesting won the Supreme Innovator of the Year Award at the 2014 New Zealand Innovator Awards and also won the Innovation in Sustainability & Clean-Tech Award.