Knowledge for better food systems

Ghost Gear: Abandoned fishing nets in the ocean

This report from environmental campaign group Greenpeace International finds that abandoned fishing gear (whether discarded intentionally or accidentally) can be a hazard to marine wildlife for many years, partially due to the durability of the plastic used to make ropes, nets and lines.

The report estimates that about 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is discarded at sea every year and that fishing gear accounts for around 10% of plastic waste in the ocean. This discarded fishing gear can trap and kill wildlife such as turtles, seabirds and whales - the carcases of which in turn attract more wildlife - and damage habitats such as seamounts. It also competes with fishers by continuing to “catch” fish, and can be a danger to ships.

The report urges governments to follow the policies set out in the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

Read the full report, Ghost Gear: The Abandoned Fishing Nets Haunting Our Oceans, here. See also the Foodsource resource How do food systems affect fish stocks and marine habitats?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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