Our Latest Articles

Why is it called “ghost gear”?

‘Ghost gear’ probably got its name because of its cryptic nature and devastating effects. It can be can hard to see due to the gear itself – many fisheries opt for superfine, almost invisible, nets to increase their catch. It can be hard to find when it sinks into the deep sea and beyond our reach. In addition, ghost gear, … Read More

How can we tackle ghost gear globally?

There are 4 key ways to tackle ghost gear:  Reducing the amount of gear lost in the first instance Removing ghost gear from the ocean/beaches/harbours Recycling and repurposing of retrieved ghost gear Rescuing injured animals from ghost gear When possible, all efforts should go into developing solutions that will prevent gear loss in the first instance.  Here are some specific … Read More

How much ghost gear is in the ocean?

There is no simple answer to the question “how much ghost gear is in the ocean?”. In the 1970s it was estimated that 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear was produced each year, accounting for around 10% of ocean plastics. However, since ghost gear survey effort is often poor or sporadic, this is likely a gross under representation of the true … Read More

Why is ghost gear hard to study?

Ghost gear is known to be cryptic and transboundary in nature. In simple terms, this means it can be difficult to see or find and may drift long distances, often crossing political and maritime borders along the way. Ghost gear inevitably succumbs to the forces of nature, such as wind and ocean currents. These forces drive ghost gear far beyond our … Read More

How does fishing gear become ghost gear?

Fishing gear becomes ghost gear when the fisher loses all operational control of the equipment. Gear loss can happen for various reasons, such as: Poor weather conditions Poor access to disposal or recycling facilities Lack of or inadequate gear maintenance High cost of retrieval Catch overload Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities Conflicts between fisheries Destructive fishing techniques. In Indian … Read More

Bycatch and ghost fishing, what is the difference?

Neither bycatch nor ghost fishing are intentional actions, rather they are by-products of fishing. The most important difference between bycatch and ghost fishing is that one involves active fishing gear, and one does not. Both bycatch and ghost fishing can cause life threatening injuries, and sometimes death, of non-target marine species. But it is important to define these different causes … Read More

Where is ghost gear found?

Ghost gear can occur in any environment where fishing takes place but is not restricted to these areas. Ocean currents can cause ghost gear to drift far from its origin. As such, it can be found in all marine habitats around the world from coral reefs hundreds of thousands of miles away from their point of origin, to the deep … Read More

What are ghost nets made of?

Ghost nets are derelict fishing nets – fishing nets that have been abandoned, lost or discarded at sea. Sometimes this refers to one singular net. It may also refer to a conglomerate – a mix of various ghost gear and marine debris such as plastics.  Fishing nets were historically made of natural or biodegradable materials, such as cotton, coconut and … Read More

Why is ghost gear a problem?

Wind and currents can cause ghost gear to drift far from its origin. Ghost gear can therefore end up in any type of marine habitat, including on beaches, coastal areas, harbours, coral reefs, and, of course, in both shallow and deep sea, causing an array of environmental and socio-economic issues: Entanglement and entrapment of marine animals, often leading to severe … Read More

What is ghost gear?

Ghost gear is fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or discarded (ALDFG) at sea, in ports and at beaches. The term ‘ghost gear’ refers to all types of derelict fishing gear, whether that be nets, lines, traps and pots or fish aggregating devices (dFADs). Ghost gear poses a grave threat to the marine environment, fishermen and local communities. Fishing … Read More