Ghost Fishing: Futures, Tricks and Joy

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Ghost fishing is a tough issue to overcome. It involves a lot of arduous work and effort with many people. It may also cost money. Tracking down ghost gears and recovering them can help in eliminating the issue. A way to track down lost and abandoned fishing equipment under the sea is by marking the gears with electronic or acoustic tags. This will ensure that the missing gears are found and are recovered. This idea will only work to its fullest potential if there are laws implemented that fishing gears should be marked with tags that can be traced back to the owners, but these tags are very costly.

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Biodegradable nets are another way to help reduce the concern. They are intended to biodegrade, meaning decompose and be absorbed by the environment. The nets are designed to decompose after a particular period of time underwater. According to Animal Conservation, developers created a net constructed of a combination of 82 percent polybutylene succinate (PBS) and 18 percent polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT). 

PBS and PBAT are both biodegradable and are part of the polyester family. It was observed in the lab testings that the biodegradable filament started to deteriorate after two years underwater. The lab tests also showed that the biodegradable nets were lower in superiority to regular nylon monofilaments nets, but during the actual fishing, the nets performed similarly to regular nets. There isn’t enough information or enough tests performed to form a solid conclusion about the overall benefits of these elements to be used in nets.

An organization that is tackling the “ghost gear” problem is Ghost Fishing. According to Ghost Fishing, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is an alliance of the fishing industry, private sector, corporates, non-governmental organizations, academia and governments with the intent of solving the issue. They cooperate with local groups of specialized divers and salvage groups to remove missing fishing equipment from all around the world. Through projects they organize, they bring social awareness to the issue by sharing videos on social media.

Bringing social awareness to the subject is an excellent help in spreading the matter and educating others about how this impacts the environment. The Ghost Fishing Foundation collaborated with other organizations such as Healthy SeaWorld Animal Protection, Greenpeace and Global Ghost Gear Initiative to do projects. Projects such as the “Project Argo: Results at a Glance,” which consisted of well-trained divers removing large, heavy trawler nets and other lost fishing materials from the wreck of MS Argo.

There are many other groups and organizations that are trying to find solutions to the problem, but the most prominent is Ghost Fishing because its sole purpose is to eliminate lost nets, fishing gears, and other marine wreckage, recycle marine debris and bring public awareness to the topic. Another way to help with eliminating ghost gears is to donate to organizations such as Ghost Fishing who collects funds to support and fund clean-ups, to sponsor equipment, to prepare and train divers and to raise social awareness.  

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