The report called “Global estimates of fishing gear lost to the ocean each year” published in Science Advances claims that their survey, carried out across seven countries, shows that the loss of fishing gear could have serious implications for the marine environment as thousands of tonnes of it is either jettisoned or lost annually.
The researchers say:
“Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is a major contributor to ocean pollution, with extensive social, economic, and environmental impacts. However, quantitative ALDFG estimates are dated and limited in scope. To provide current global estimates, we interviewed fishers around the world about how much fishing gear they lose annually and multiplied reported losses by global fishing effort data. We estimate that nearly 2% of all fishing gear, comprising 2963 km2 of gillnets, 75,049 km2 of purse seine nets, 218 km2 of trawl nets, 739,583 km of longline mainlines, and more than 25 million pots and traps are lost to the ocean annually. These estimates represent critical baselines that can inform solutions targeted to ALDFG reduction strategies.”
The survey was taken across 451 fishers from seven countries including the USA (& Alaska), Iceland, Belize, Peru, Morocco, Indonesia and New Zealand.
The biggest offender in the survey was Morocco, but per population, the biggest contributor to lost fishing gear was Iceland.
Surveys revealed that 3153 m2 (±927.98 m2) of all gillnets, 58,130.9 m2 (±12,451.56 m2) of all purse seine nets, 2084.8 m2 (±744.95 m2) of all trawl nets, 4930 m (±660 m) of all longline mainlines, and 232.12 (±45.19) pots and traps are lost, on average, from individual fishing vessels annually (Global estimates of fishing gear lost to the ocean each year). On average, 2120.98 m2 (±819.33 m2) of all bottom trawl nets, 1813 m2 (±1643.45 m2) of all midwater trawl nets, 74,780 m of all longline branchlines (±47,040 m), and 37,913.9 (±7146.4) longline hooks are lost by each fishing vessel around the world each year.