Today KIMO Sweden releases their much awaited report investigating the problem of ghost gear. Each year KIMO Sweden present a scholarship to investigate a pressing environmental problem. This year’s scholarship holder, Anna Axelsson, focused her research on ghost gear.
Ghost gear is fishing gear (nets, lines, creels and pots) that has been lost or discarded into the sea and is the most harmful form of marine debris because it continues to fish. The increase in more intensive fishing means that the amount of fisheries-related waste in EU waters is now estimated to be 27 per cent of all marine debris, mainly comprising synthetic materials that are difficult to recycle.
Lost fishing equipment has extensive ecological consequences in the form of ghost fishing, the spread of microplastics and heavy metals, degraded habitats, the spread of invasive species and negative impact on marine mammals and birds. Because the equipment can be transported a long way, the consequences can be felt far from the place where it was lost. Besides environmental impacts, economic sectors such as fishing and tourism are also adversely affected.
This report explores the problems caused by ghost gear and evidences the work towards circular and sustainable solutions.
The report is available to download below.