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Global causes, drivers, and prevention measures for lost fishing gear


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Richardson, K, Hardesty, BD, Vince, J ORCID: 0000-0002-4469-7634 and Wilcox, C 2021 , 'Global causes, drivers, and prevention measures for lost fishing gear' , Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 8 , doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.690447.

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Abandoned, Lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) comprises a significantpart of global marine plastic pollution, with adverse consequences for fishers, theseafood industry, and marine wildlife and habitats. To effectively prevent and reduceALDFG at source, an understanding of the major causes of and drivers behind fishinggear losses is required. We interviewed 451 fishers from seven countries around theworld (Belize, Iceland, Indonesia, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, and the United Statesof America) representing five key fishing gear types (gillnets, purse seine nets, trawl nets,longlines, and pots and traps) about why and under what circumstances they lose theirgear. We also asked them their views on the most effective interventions to reduce gearlosses. Across all major gear types and countries where interviews were undertaken,bad weather was the most common cause of gear loss, followed by interactions withwildlife (identified as a cause for loss by 81% and 65% of all fishers interviewed,respectively). Snagging gear on a bottom obstruction was a major cause of loss forgears that contact the seafloor, along with conflicts with other fishers, often via gearand vessel interactions, for gillnet and pot and trap fishers. Operational and behavioralcharacteristics such as gear type, trip length, and the party responsible to pay for gearrepairs and replacements all significantly influenced gear losses. Gear maintenance wasthe most effective gear loss prevention measure across all gear types and countriesreported by fishers, followed by training crew in gear management (identified as aneffective prevention measure by 95% and 82% of all fishers interviewed, respectively).Actions available to fishers, managers and port operators to effectively prevent fishinggear losses include: gear maintenance; reducing active gear interactions with wildlife;reducing financial and administrative burdens for port reception facilities; reducing triplengths; and targeting education and gear stewardship programs to fishers with limitedALDFG awareness, particularly those in low income fisheries and countries

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Richardson, K and Hardesty, BD and Vince, J and Wilcox, C
Keywords: abandoned lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), derelict fishing gear, fisheries management, ghostfishing, marine debris, marine litter, sustainable fisheries, plastic pollution, governance, ocean governance
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-7745
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fmars.2021.690447
Copyright Information:

Copyright © 2021 Richardson, Hardesty, Vince and Wilcox. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (

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