Some of the 2400 pots recovered from the Barents Sea during the clean-up cruise 2020. Photo: Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries
The Norwegian clean-up cruise organised by the Directorate of Fisheries has returned home with more than 2400 snow crab pots and over 100 kilometres of ropes, which make up more than 50 tonnes of marine litter removed from the seabed in the Barents Sea.
The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries’ chartered clean-up vessel M/S “Vendla” returns home after 11 days on the snow crab field in the Barents Sea. Of the total amount of snow crab pots that have been recovered, finds in the Svalbard zone make up 85%. Results from each location will be presented in a web solution after the cruise.
“Fishing in such vulnerable areas also requires that fishermen be extra careful with regard to the loss of fishing gear that causes ghost fishing and marine litter. Some actors have actively contributed additional information that has been crucial for effective work in large sea areas,” says cruise leader Gjermund Langedal in the Directorate of Fisheries.
Some of the pots that have been removed have been abandoned for three years. There is no knowledge that says anything about the amount caught during the year or how long it takes before these die. Dead seals and whales have also been recorded.
“13,000 snow crabs have been released back into the sea, but many crabs have been trapped, partially disintegrated and killed. Solutions are being worked on that make the pots unfishable after loss, as has been introduced in lobster fishing. This is somewhat more complicated on snow crab stones, but will come,” says Langedal.
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In the event of loss of fishing gear, Norwegian fishermen are required to make their own attempts at recovery. If this is not successful, this must be reported according to established routines.
“With access to fishing with a high number of pots in vulnerable areas and where the challenges of carrying out the fishing are extra large, the individual player has a great responsibility,” Langedal emphasises.
“Finds of unmarked bottom links and links that have been set without a bait box and open hatch indicate that a strict follow-up is needed. The same applies to reporting routines for losses and remaining links. One of the actors has solved this in a very interesting and good way that has contributed to a significant number of discoveries. “This should be a template for the entire snow crab fleet,” Langedal concludes.
The cruise continues
The cruise continues on the coast between Tromsø and Kirkenes. Then the work will move to Tromsøflaket and south along the edge of the egg to Ålesund.