Lost fishing gear can cause big problems for wildlife long after it is lost.
Lost fishing gear is a big part of both commercial and leisure fishing. And experts estimate commercial fisherman lose up to 10 percent of their gear.
Unfortunately, this gear can continue to catch and kill animals and fish long after it is lost. But some groups are now working to combat the problems of lost gear continuing to kill wildlife through “ghost fishing.”
The big problem with ghost fishing is when something like a crab pot is lost and then the crabs are trapped until they starve to death.
Thankfully, volunteer-based groups like the Ghost Fishing Foundation founded by Pascal van Erp works to go out with sonar to locate and remove this problem gear with the help of snags or divers.
Some solutions such as biodegradable panels for crab pots will help to combat this problem in the future, but it’s a problem as old as fishing itself that’s likely to continue to be an issue.
“They’re still fishing long after they’re not supposed to be,” said New Jersey’s Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science’s John Wnek. “This happens everywhere there’s commercial fishing.”
It’s good to see groups working together for preservation of our world’s oceans. Don’t forget the problems of lost tackle on a smaller scale.
Take along a trash bag when you hit your local lake or river to help get rid of discarded lines or other tackle one might come across. A little bit of help by everyone goes a long way to preserving fishing for future generations to enjoy!