Before you start trapping there are several things you will need to know:
Although this manual gives general information on traps and pots, there are several other sources of local information on the fish that you wish to catch and the gear needed to catch them. These include:
Good bait is normally essential in successful trap fishing, although some subsistence fishers use only white or shining objects to attract the fish. Sometimes the trap itself will lure the fish inside (e.g. habitat traps).
Bait must be:
The most effective baits are usually oily fish such as sardines and mullet. Soft fish that break up after the trap has been set form a good "plume" that will readily attract fish. If traps or pots are set for longer periods, however, harder baits may be needed, or a combination of both soft and hard.
When you start trapping, you will often land the catch on existing wharves or on the beach. Here you can sell it, pass it on to your family, ice it or preserve it by freezing, salting, drying, smoking, etc. If your trapping venture becomes well established and profitable, you will need to be sure that the catch can be landed easily, cheaply and in good condition. Although existing landing places may be good enough during the initial phase of your operation, you may need new or upgraded landing places as your fishery develops.
If you wish to sell all or part of your catch, it is very important that you preserve it in a way that suits your customers. The best method of preservation will vary according to:
You should always try to land your fish in the best possible condition (see Chapter 9) but you should also always balance the rewards of landing high-quality fish against the cost of achieving that quality. There is no point landing fish in first-class condition if it costs more to do so than the selling price you can expect to earn.
The source of finance for fishing operations is outside the scope of this manual and is an aspect that can only be looked at locally. However, in some areas specific schemes are sponsored and funded by local organizations and banks. You should talk to your local fisheries organization about these schemes.