GHOST GEAR AND ITS IMPACTS
Ghost gear is any lost, abandoned and otherwise discarded fishing gear. It is estimated that over 800.000 tons of ghost gear enter the marine ecosystems, threatening vulnerable species and habitats.
Often linked to Illegal, Unregulated or Unreported fishing (IUU), and the use of poor-quality fishing gear, ghost fishing is often composed of plastics that last for hundreds of years. In the open ocean ecosystem, nets, fish aggregating devices (FADs) and longlines can drift for long periods, entangling marine mammals, sharks, turtles and seabirds. This type of ghost gear can also have a negative impact on the environment by transporting persistent toxic compounds and invasive species. Furthermore, ropes, FADs, longlines and nets adrift constitute a risk for shipping. When eventually washing up ashore, these ghost gear continue their devastation by destroying vulnerable habitats.
Another type of ghost fishing is that of nets, longlines, FAD anchorage lines and traps that are lost on the seafloor. These ghost gear will continue impacting on species and habitat, and also constitute a threat for scuba divers.