A new study from DTU maps the occurrence of ghost nets and abandoned fishing gear in Danish waters and tests methods for collection

A new study from DTU maps the occurrence of ghost nets and abandoned fishing gear in Danish waters and tests methods for collection

For the first time, a physical survey of the occurrence of ghost nets in Danish waters has now been carried out and methods for gentle and efficient purification have been tested.

For the first time, a physical survey of the occurrence of ghost nets in Danish waters has now been carried out and methods for gentle and efficient purification have been tested.

Ghost nets are lost or abandoned fishing gear (eg nets and nets) in which fish, marine mammals and divers can be caught. In addition, ghost nets are often a source of marine pollution, as they are typically made of plastic.

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The report “Ghost nets in Danish waters” from the study prepared by DTU Aqua for the Danish Fisheries Agency concludes, among other things, the following:

Ghost nets caused by lost fishing gear are generally not considered to be a widespread problem in Danish waters, but nets and pieces of nets accumulate over time if they are not removed.

In the western part of the Limfjord, however, a serious problem is found with deliberately abandoned ghost nets in very large quantities.

It is estimated that there are ghost networks of more than 50 per cent. of the wrecks located in areas where there is – or has been – fishing.

Lost / abandoned gear has been found from both commercial, leisure and anglers.

In addition, the report outlines a number of recommendations regarding. collection of ghost nets based on different collection methods:

  • Collection activities should target areas with reasonable suspicion or knowledge of ghost net instances so that the process is as cost-effective as possible.
  • Wreck collection activities should be performed by professional divers.
  • A common platform can be set up to continuously collect information on ghost network instances.
  • One can consider including historical data on the prevalence of fishing in future projects, as many nets have proven to be old.

The study of ghost nets in Danish waters has been carried out as part of the Danish Marine and Fisheries Development Program, where, among other things, the focus is on gathering knowledge about the marine environment and the effects of marine waste. The program is supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The task of investigating and quantifying occurrences of ghost nets in suspected conflict areas in Danish waters, as well as testing gentle and effective methods of collection, was carried out by DTU Aqua on the basis of a tender carried out by the Danish Fisheries Agency in March 2019. Here, DTU Aquas offers assessed to be the best qualified based on criteria of method and task solution, experiments with removal of ghost nets and staffing and communication.

In the forthcoming Marine, Fisheries and Aquaculture Program 2021-2027 (EHFAF), there will continue to be a focus on removing and preventing the occurrence of marine waste. In 2021-2023, DKK 9 million has been allocated. DKK for a future effort.

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New study maps the occurrence of ghost nets in Danish waters and tests methods for collection

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