Use biodegradable materials to construct fishing gear to prevent entanglement of reptiles in lost or abandoned 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 aquatic reptiles. Sea turtles in particular are at risk of becoming 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. Biodegradable fishing gear, which is naturally broken down by microbes or ultraviolet light, may offer an alternative to traditional materials (Kim et al. 2016) and help to reduce the impact of ‘ghost’ gear on reptiles. 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