• All the surveyed groups – east coast fishermen; west coast fishermen; fisheries and marine managers; fisheries and marine scientists; and conservation professionals – ranked the impacts associated with bottom trawls as the most severe.
• Bottom gillnets, dredges (including scallop and hydraulic clam dredges) and bottom longline were considered to have lower impacts than bottom trawl, but higher than other gears.
• Midwater trawls, pots and traps, pelagic longlines and purse seines followed with respectively decreasing levels of severity of ecosystem impacts.
• Hook and line gear, which included rod and reel for pelagic fishes, salmon trolling and groundfish hook and line, was considered to have low impacts on habitat and bycatch. The least damaging fishing gear was the harpoon, used in the North Atlantic swordfish fishery.
• Based on an analysis of the volume of fish caught by fishing gear type, the gear used most extensively in Canada also has the highest ecological impact.