It is estimated that every year, about 640,000 tons of fishing gear is either lost or intentionally discarded in the oceans. But even when drifting aimlessly, fishing nets don’t lose their functionality—they ʻghost fishʼ, killing huge numbers of animals pointlessly. Those so-called ghostnets compose about 20% of marine debris and can be found even in extremely remote locations. Therefore, many initiatives have formed globally to tackle this problem, by removing and recycling abandoned nets. Another approach is to use biodegradable fishing nets that will decompose after some time when lost.
Sources: Wilcox, C. et al., “Ghostnet impacts on globally threatened turtles, a spatial risk analysis for northern Australia”, Conservation Letters, vol. 6, (2013): 247-254.
Kim, S. et al., “Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties and fishing performance for yellow croaker”, Animal Conservation, (2016).