According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the global fishing industry harvested 171 million metric tons of seafood valued at 362 billion USD in 2016. Fish consumption is at an all-time high and the ocean feeds more people than ever. FAO predicts that world fish production will continue to increase over the coming decade. As fishing and aquaculture continue to grow, so too will the problem of ghost gear (e.g. abandoned fishing gear).
Ghost gear washes up on beaches, damages marine and nearshore habitats, and can be found in the enormous trash gyres that circulate in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Ghost gear can continue to entangle and trap fish and other marine animals long after it is lost or abandoned at sea. This phenomenon, known as ghost fishing, can significantly reduce valuable catches in some fisheries and can harm multiple non-target species, such as mammals, sea turtles and birds.
This report outlines effective ghost gear solutions that are as varied as the world’s fisheries and can inspire action that protects fish and other marine life that rely on the ocean. These solutions showcase progress at each point along the supply chain, highlighting how everyone involved in the global fishing industry, as well as NGOs and governments, can contribute meaningfully to ghost gear solutions.