Use biodegradable fishing gear
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (or ‘ghost’ gear) is a major threat to marine and freshwater mammals. Mammals may become entangled in ‘ghost’ gear, such as nets, lines and ropes, resulting in injury or death (Stelfox et al. 2016). Synthetic materials used for fishing gear, such as nylon, may persist for decades leading to an accumulation of ‘ghost’ gear in marine and freshwater environments. Using biodegradable materials, which are naturally broken down by microbes or ultraviolet light, may reduce the persistence of ‘ghost’ gear in the environment (Kim et al. 2016), and therefore reduce the risk of mammal entanglement. The degraded products of biodegradable materials (carbon dioxide, methane, water) also have no impact on marine ecosystems, unlike synthetic materials which eventually degrade into microplastics.
Kim S., Kim P., Lim J., An H. & Suuronen P. (2016) Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties and fishing performance for yellow croaker. Animal Conservation, 19, 309–319.
Stelfox M., Hudgins J. & Sweet M. (2016) A review of ghost gear entanglement amongst marine mammals, reptiles and elasmobranchs. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 111, 6–17.