New film catches up with the fishermen trialling solutions for the sea

World Animal Protection have launched a new filmand materials today to help fishermen protect their business from the blight of ghost gear.

 Fishing litter or ‘ghost gear’ is used to describe nets, pots, lines and ropes that have been lost or discarded at sea. Gear loss happens for a number of reasons, from adverse weather to gear conflict. Lost gear is expensive to replace, can continue to fish and cause problems for wildlife. Fish stocks are affected by ghost gear and it poses a safety hazard for vessels. Two of the fishermen featured in the short film are working in Wales, as part of the Pembrokeshire Sustainable Shellfish Initiative to trial fast degrading hooks for escape hatches on lobster pots and hog rings with a weak link mechanism. GGGI participant Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners, is also featured explaining how the project they run is reuniting lost lobster pots with their rightful owners to save them money and protect the seas. Richard Collins, one of the fishermen in the film said: 

It's time we look to doing something to help our fishery. If you are losing pots it’s going to be a problem.

 Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection UK, Christina Dixon, said: 

Ghost gear will haunt your business and can come at a real cost to any fisherman. We are already working with fishermen who are part of the solution and are following the simple advice we are sharing to protect their fishing ground for the future. We look forward to hearing from others interested to trial these, or similar methods in their fisheries.

 A few of the tips on the new website include:

  • Installing escape hatches on all pots

  • Weighting post so they don’t move in high currents or tidal changes

  • Reporting lost gear if it can’t be recovered safely

  • Securing lids and escape panels with biodegradable cotton escape cord

  • Weighting lines to sink below surface and avoid being cut by passing boats

 World Animal Protection’s dedicated web hub is for all local fishing communities to address ghost fishing gear and provide educational materials to raise awareness of preventative measures and best practice.  All the materials can be found at the Sea Solutions hub here.