Session Chairs: Joanna Toole, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); Lynn Kavanagh, World Animal Protection; Jason Morgan, Northwest Straits Foundation

This session will showcase efforts being made to eliminate the threat of Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) from the world’s oceans through the development of best practice guidelines and education and outreach with fishing communities.

The Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear (BPF) developed by the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), launched in 2017 will be presented by World Animal Protection, demonstrating how the cause and impact of ALDFG can be reduced by taking action at different stages of the life-cycle of the gear and with interventions across the seafood supply chain. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will demonstrate work taking place at the UN level to develop International Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear – one example of best practice, and the implementation of these Guidelines through pilot projects. The Northwest Straits Foundation will provide insights on work that is happening within fishing communities around the world to implement best practice and how this is being achieved through outreach and education campaigns.

Collectively, these organizations will demonstrate the progress being made at different levels with multiple stakeholders that together represent significant progress on this issue. This session will be interactive, providing the audience with an opportunity for learning through the discussion of case studies.



Showcasing best practice guidelines and solutions to the problem of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear

presenting: Lynn Kavanagh (World Animal Protection, Canada); authors: Lynn Kavanagh (World Animal Protection, Canada)

Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG or ‘ghost gear’) worldwide is a major source of marine litter. It has numerous impacts, including the continued catching of target and non-target species (so called ‘ghost fishing’), entanglement of marine wildlife, detrimental impacts to the marine environment and navigational hazards.

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a multi-stakeholder platform committed to driving solutions to the problem of ghost gear. Its cross-sectoral approach brings together participants with varied knowledge and experience, including representative from fishing groups, seafood companies and NGOs, with a shared interest in sustainable seafood and ocean protection.

This session will focus on progress being made to address ghost gear via the development and implementation of best practice. The GGGI developed the Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear (BPF) to encourage stakeholders throughout the seafood supply chain – from gear manufacturers to fishermen, regulatory authorities and seafood businesses – to reduce both the causes and impacts of ALDFG through better management practices and processes. Drawing on both case studies and scientific evidence, the framework outlines prevention, mitigation and ‘cure’ approaches to gear management and discusses options for implementing such measures. In addition, solution projects demonstrating best practices on the ground, which are fundamental to the GGGI’s mandate, will also be shared.


The development of best practice measures to reduce ALDFG and its impacts at Intergovernmental level – an update on progress from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

presenting: Joanna Toole (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy); authors: Joanna Toole (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Italy)

Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) is a form of marine litter addressed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) from the duel perspective of i) its impacts and ii) its causes.

ALDFG has negative impacts on marine ecosystems, wildlife, fisheries resources and coastal communities. Some ALDFG continues to catch both target and non-target species (‘ghost-fishing’), and entangles marine animals. Some near-bottom ALDFG can also cause physical damage to the seabed and coral reefs and surface ALDFG often presents a navigation and safety hazard for ocean users. Once washed ashore ALDFG, pollutes beaches with plastic litter that does not readily degrade. ALDFG is also a source of microplasrics as it disintegrates over time. Retreval and clean-up of ALDFG has huge cost implications for authorities and for the fishing industry.

FAO has progressed work to address ALDFG through the development of Draft Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear. An Expert Consultation convened by FAO in April 2016 provided the initial expertise to develop these Draft Guidelines and following recommendations endorsed by the FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in July 2016, these guidelines will be further developed via Technical Consultation in February 2018.

FAO has also been conducting pilot projects to support and inform the potential adoption of the Draft Guidelines and is currently facilitating two pilot probers, one on gill net fisheries in Indonesia focussing on the practical application of gear marking and lost gear retrieval in small-scale coastal fisheries and the other consisting of a global feasibility study focussing on drifting Fish Aggregation Devices (dFADs) used predominantly by the purse seine industry.


Leave No Traps Behind

presenting: Sean Hastings (National Oceanic and Atmopsheric Administration, United States); authors: Sean Hastings (NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary)

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) and NOAA Marine Debris Program continue to prevent the threat of Abandoned, Lost, or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) on multiple fronts. Sanctuary staff worked with filmmakers at Earth Media Lab, LLC to produce the film “Leave No Traps Behind” which highlights best practices for preventing lobster trap loss. The film features veteran lobster fishermen from Santa Barbara and Ventura who share their wisdom on trap construction, weather watching, and generally how to prevent losing lobster traps. The intended audiences are novice lobster fishermen, and secondarily fishery and ocean managers, and the general public. To address the later stages of ALDFG and other debris, the sanctuary and partners removed over two tons of marine debris in a series of four beach cleanups at Santa Cruz Island in the Channel Islands around Get Into Your Sanctuary and International Coastal Cleanup Day in 2017. Lobster fishermen created an invaluable pulley system between the shore and their vessels to safely transport trash bags and large debris. The cleanups were intended to bring together agencies and fishing communities in a collaborative effort. Outreach thus far includes cleanup event press releases, and sharing the film through domestic and international film festivals and through social media platforms. For targeted prevention and cleanup efforts, the sanctuary and partners continue to work together to learn about where debris ends up through Channel Islands National Park and California State University, Channel Islands partners who survey the islands regularly. In sum, the sanctuary’s goal is to heighten awareness for prevention and strengthen partnerships for removing ALDFG and other marine debris from the Channel Islands.


Preventing loss and dumping of fishing gear in the Arctic

presenting: Kjersti Eline Busch (SALT, Norway); authors: Kjersti Eline Busch (SALT, Norway), Jannike Falk-Andersson (Norut), Kjersti Eline Busch (Salt Lofoten AS)

Abandoned, Lost or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) make up a large proportion of the marine litter collected in the Arctic. Involvement of fisheries organizations and fishermen is a crucial factor in reducing the amount of ALDFG in the future.

As part of the research project MARP3 (MARine Plastic pollution in the Arctic: origin, status, costs and incentives for Prevention), representatives from fisheries organizations from Iceland, Norway and Russia were invited to a waste-workshop in Svalbard in 2016. At the workshop scientists and waste-experts (industry representatives) examined waste collected from beaches of the northern part of Svalbard. The cleanup action was carried out by Clean Up Svalbard. Through a qualitative analysis, the waste was graded according to source, reason of loss, nationality and age.

A large proportion of the waste originated from trawlers. This is coherent with the fact that most fishing activity in the area is carried out by bottom trawlers. According to the waste-expert judgements, a large proportion of the waste had been deliberately dumped into the sea. This included ropes and nets with clean cuts, knots of strapping band and broken fish crates and trawl bobbins. As a result of the waste-workshop, the fisheries organizations have implemented measures to prevent future ALDFG in the Barents Sea.


Mechanisms for fishing gear resource management

presenting: Dina Margrethe Asåen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway); authors: Dina Margrethe Aspen (NTNU, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), Laura Brodbeck (Kjeller Innovasjon AS), Paritosh Deschpande (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Marine plastic waste is a growing issue negatively affecting ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine industries. A particularly troublesome waste fraction is fishing gear, which may continue to trap fish, marine mammals and birds for decades upon release. This article takes a systems approach at structuring and analyzing fishing gear resource management (FGRM) mechanisms to mitigate gear waste streams. Interviews with stakeholders in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region was conducted to identify existing practices and problems related to FGRM. This encompass stakeholders from fisheries and aquaculture industries, gear suppliers, policy-makers and recovery, recycling and waste management companies. A literature review was further conducted to define and structure 13 regulatory, financial and technological FGRM mechanisms, Their benefits and disadvantages are discussed across a set of economic, environmental and social criteria. The work provides a structured understanding of potential mechanisms to be employed on national, regional and international levels and supports further quantified analysis of material flows covering alternative end-of-life scenarios.


Working with User Groups to Develop Outreach Campaigns to Prevent Impacts of Lost and Abandoned Fishing Gear

Newly Lost Net Reporting, Response, and Retrieval Program for Washington State’s Salish Sea, USA

presenting: Jason Morgan (Northwest Straits Foundation, United States); authors: Jason Morgan (Northwest Straits Foundation, United States)

Washington State’s Salish Sea (WASS) hosts a robust recreational crab fishery and has a strong history of commercial gill net and purse seine salmon fishing. This high level of fishing effort combined with extreme changes in water depth, strong tidal current velocity, rocky reefs and vessel traffic has resulted in a large-scale derelict fishing gear problem for WASS. The Northwest Straits Initiative (NWSI) has been addressing the issue of derelict fishing gear in WASS since 2002 through removals, research, outreach and education. Having removed over 5,600 derelict fishing nets and 5,000 derelict crab pots, the NWSI is now focusing their efforts on prevention by working with user groups to create behavior change in fishing practices and reporting of lost fishing gear.

The NWSI worked with marketing firms conducting social marketing research to better understand the barriers and motivators to creating behavior change. Interviews were held with the targeted user groups, recreational crabbers and commercial salmon fishermen, to learn more about common practices, motivators for change, and appropriate messaging which would appeal to the target audience.

A separate outreach campaign was launched for each fishery driven by information collected during the interview sessions. Messaging developed for the campaigns focus on positive reinforcements based on the fishers’ goals, a diversion from previous outreach efforts which focused on the negative impacts of derelict fishing gear. Outreach materials produced include instructional videos, print ads, posters, informational brochures, wallet cards and magnets. A dissemination plan which includes distributing materials through social media, fishing docks and marinas, marine supply stores and meetings with commercial fishing groups has reached over 350,000 individuals.


Fishermen’s perception on the cause, motivation, and mitigation measures of derelict fishing gears in South Korea

presenting: Sunwook Hong (Korea Marine Litter Institute, South Korea); authors: Sunwook Hong (Korea Marine Litter Institute, South Korea), Jongmyoung Lee (), Won Joon Shim (Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology)

Derelict fishing gears have high potential to damage marine ecosystem, navigation safety, fishing resource and its economy. To mitigate damage from DFGs, fishermen’s role is very important because they are the main contributors and are also directly exposed to the damage. DFGs are significant sources of marine debris in South Korea. This study evaluated fishermen’s perception on DFGs’ causes, motivation/reasons, and measures that UNEP/FAO suggested in 2009. We also asked preferences of measures on DFGs by Korean government. A total of 134 people participated in the survey conducted in 2015, comprising 55 from capture fisheries and 79 from aquaculture. The fishermen answered that DFGs comprises about 30% of total marine debris and are abandoned, discarded, and lost in similar proportion. In comparison between groups, respondents from capture fishermen thought accidental loss at sea is more important cause than others whereas people from aquaculture answered deliberate disposal (discarded) is more significant. The fishermen in total picked improved port state measure and retrieval activities as more effective and feasible than others. About Korean governmental policies, they preferred to the existing policies such as floating reception barges and retrieval programs rather than adoption of new policies such as extended producer responsibility, gear deposit system, and others.


Managing derelict fishing gear in marine aquaculture in Taiwan

presenting: Po-Hsiu Kuo (Institute of Ocean Technology and Marine Affairs of National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Taiwan); authors: Po-Hsiu Kuo (Institute of Ocean Technology and Marine Affairs of National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, Taiwan), Po-Hsiu Kuo (Institute of Ocean Technology and Marine Affairs, National Cheng Kung University)

Derelict fishing gear (DFG) generated from marine aquaculture has caused serious pollution in Taiwan. Tainan City Government has been regulating oyster farming DFG since 2004, but still could not manage the Styrofoam buoys effectively. To understand how the management can be improved, this research carried out in-depth interviews with fishermen to identify the causes of and solutions to Styrofoam buoys debris pollution. A questionnaire survey was conducted to analyze the fishermen’s acceptance of the management imposed by the Tainan City Government. The causes of Styrofoam buoy debris include bad weather, illegal farming, intentional discard and gear conflict. We learned that 88% of the fishermen approved of the subsidy offered by the government to purchase alternative buoys, but they did not apply them widely considering the high price and low performance. 94% of the fishermen approved of the provided incentive payments for retrieving Styrofoam buoys but the retrieval rate is only around 20%, because it is highly time-consuming. Besides, the local fisherman and the local government both did not have ability to secure huge space and disposal capacity to accommodate the retrieved buoys. The paper provided suggestions as what follows: using Styrofoam compactors to increase disposal capability, providing incentive to invent acceptable alternative buoys, improving obligatory retrieval of Styrofoam buoys, promoting circular economy by resourcezation of Styrofoam buoy debris, emphasizing education, community-based self-management, enhancing stakeholders’ involvement, establishing eco-label system and participating in the Northwest Pacific Action Plan.


Working with Welsh fishermen to reduce impacts of derelict fishing gear

presenting: Christina Dixon (World Animal Protection, United Kingdom); authors: Christina Dixon (World Animal Protection, United Kingdom)

The focus of this work relates to engaging fishermen in Wales in a programme to implement best practice for fishing gear management in a pot fishery in Pembrokeshire, Welsh to reduce incidence of pot loss following a series of major storms which resulted in high volumes of lost gear. The project, coordinated via a local partnership, also involved modifying fishing equipment to test different methods for reducing the ghost fishing potential of lost pots. World Animal Protection was responsible for sharing best practice and creating communications assets to support the project. These will be presented as part of the talk to stimulate a discussion about the pros and cons of the approach for encouraging fishermen to engage in best practice and share achievements to replicate success.