Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear ‘ghost nets’ are increasing through time in Northern Australia

Hardesty, Britta Denise, Roman, Lauren, Duke, Norman C., Mackenzie, Jock R., and Wilcox, Chris (2021) Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear ‘ghost nets’ are increasing through time in Northern Australia. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 173. 112959.

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The remote Gulf of Carpentaria (GoC) represents 10% of Australia’s coastline. This large, shallow sea supports high value fishing activities and habitat for threatened species, and is a sink for abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) ‘ghost nets’, most originating from fishing activities outside of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone. With growing concerns about the plastic waste along the world’s coastlines, we retrospectively analyzed ghost net sighting information from four aerial surveys across 15 years, to investigate whether densities of ghost nets are changing through time or in space. We found an increase in ghost nets, despite more than a decade of illegal fishing countermeasure and clean-up efforts in the broader region. This demonstrates that the input of ALDFG into the system currently overwhelms the substantial net removal activities. We make recommendations for improving monitoring and consider the underlying drivers of nets being lost to improve ghost gear management on land and at sea.

Item ID: 69691
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-3363
Keywords: ALDPG; entanglement; fishing; ghost gear; marine debris; plastic pollution
Copyright Information: © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Research Data: https://doi. org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2021.112959
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 22:29
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4105 Pollution and contamination > 410599 Pollution and contamination not elsewhere classified @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 40%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards > 199999 Other environmental policy, climate change and natural hazards not elsewhere classified @ 30%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180507 Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments @ 30%
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