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Rapid assessment of evidence collation on Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) - ME5232

Under the banner of managing marine pollution, abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) comprise a significant amount of global marine plastic pollution, with an estimated 640,000 t of fishing gear lost each year. ALDFG is widely recognised to result from a number of environmental, spatial, operational, economic, and enforcement pressures. These pressures may include poor weather, overcrowding, gear conflicts, improper gear storage, lack of shore-side collection facilities for end of life gear, high costs of gear disposal and vandalism or theft. One of the significant challenges with this gear is its potential to continue to fish, as well as entangle and ensnare other marine wildlife as fishing gear remain in the ocean and travel with ocean currents. These derelict gears are commonly referred to as ‘ghost nets’ for this continued ability to ensnare unintended ‘catch’. As most modern fishing gear are made of plastic materials, such material once derelict can persistent for extensive periods in the marine environment, further exacerbating potential impacts.

Despite increasing national interest and legislative action, there is still little understanding of the causes, impacts (social, environmental, and economic) and management activities needed to prevent or mitigate ALDFG within the United Kingdom. This project seeks to address the acknowledged lack of understanding by undertaking a rapid evidence assessment of the current data and knowledge of ALDFG, examining available research from global, regional and national sources, and therefore identifying gaps in evidence. This work then assesses and summarises the effectiveness, cost and impact of current active projects and past relevant projects in aid of understanding the full range of management options utilised to effectively manage both potential and existing ALDFGs.
Objective 1: Develop an understanding and summarise the current data/knowledge of ALDFG and therefore identify the gaps in evidence in this area of work.
Objective 2: Provide a summary of current active projects and past relevant projects along with an assessment of effectiveness, costs and impact on the marine environment.

This report should be cited as
MBIEWG (2020). Rapid assessment of evidence collation on Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG). A report produced by MRAG for Marine Biodiversity Impacts Evidence Working Group members Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, the Marine Management Organisation, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Centre of Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Project No: ME5232, 72pp
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : ME5232 - Evidence review of Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear   (1325k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2018

To: 2019

Cost: £23,280
Contractor / Funded Organisations