Ghost fishing is a real threat to marine biodiversity. It involves discarded, lost or abandoned fishing gear. It can be nets, traps or pots.
This fishing gears continues to fish and trap marine life. Animals are entangle and kill by its. For instance, every year, 136 000 seals and whales are trapped. Ghost gear also suffocates and damages already fragile ecosystems. They facilitate the spread of invasive species and devastate coastlines.
They also contribute to the depletion of fish stocks. Commercial and small scales fisheries are directly affected. Everything caught by these abandoned net is a lost earnings. Thus, a single ghost net can kill Dungeness crabs worth an estimated $20,000 over a 10-year period.
It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes of ghost fishing gear are lost each year. There are three reasons for these lossed : bad weathers and storms, wear and tear of time and the last and most common explication : the crew throwing it overboard. This is the easiest way to dispose of old fishing gear.
According to the FAO, thousand of kilometers of abandoned and damaged nets are currently drifting in the seas.
Several initiatives are launched to reduce the number of victims of of ghost fishing.
Firstly, we have the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. It is a set up of non-governmental organizations, academics and fishing industries to reduce the amount of ghost gear in the ocean.
Then, the Ghost Diving Global Mission. This registered charity organization is made of volunteer technicals divers. They specialize in the removal of ghost gear and marine debris.
And finally, Some are tackling the source of the problem. Biodegradable nets are being developed.