A sea turtle entangled in ghost gear. Image: NOOA, Public Domain Fishing gear that’s lost or dumped in the ocean may account for almost one half of all the plastic waste that ends up there. But this equipment, which is manufactured for fishing or aquaculture, isn’t ordinary waste because it continues to do what it was designed for—trapping marine life, with devastating consequences. Global awareness of the issue is growing though. In Shenzhen , Karachi and the Mediterranean , for example, diving organisations are removing nets from the marine environment, while numerous companies and organisations have sprung up to find ways of reusing the waste. Dozens of organisations around the world are removing abandoned nets from the seabed, recycling old nets, or using them to generate power (Source: Global Ghost Gear Initiative) Before getting to the alternative uses for old fishing gear, it’s worth remembering that relying on volunteers to recycle ghost nets will never fix the problem. Fishermen must also get involved to increase recycling of marine plastics. In Scotland, one organisation is doing this , bringing waste collected at sea back to land. But most important is stopping fishing gear from being lost to the ocean at […]

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