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Discarded fishing gear keeps fishing for ever…

A whale shark, victim of lost fishing gear, on the beach. © Scuba Adventures

„Derelict fishing gear, sometimes referred to as “ghost gear,” is any discarded, lost, or abandoned, fishing gear in the environment. This gear continues to fish and trap animals, entangle and potentially kill marine life, smother habitat, and act as a hazard to navigation. Derelict fishing gear, such as nets or traps and pots, is one of the main types of debris impacting the marine environment today.“ (NOAA).

In every sea, divers encounters ghost nets and lines, that are discarded by fishing vessels or anglers. This lost fishing gear forms a major threat to marine life, as it kills every animal that is trapped in it, thus attracting more animals that feed on the remains that stay in the net.


According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, the main impacts of abandoned or lost fishing gear are:

  • continued catches of fish and other animals such as turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals, who are trapped and die;
  • alterations of the sea-floor environment; and
  • the creation of navigation hazards that can cause accidents at sea and damage boats.

Gill nets, fishing pots and traps are most likely to “ghost fish,” while longlines, are more likely to ensnare other marine organisms and trawls most likely to damage sub-sea habitats.

Ghost nets can catch any creature, not only smaller fishes, but also large sharks.




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