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Ghost nets: sprawling killers strangling the oceans
Floating a good idea - the scourge of ghost nets

From the archives: early days in the WAP antighost gear programs: Riki Gunn is the coordinator of the Carpentaria Ghost Nets Program. She explains why the project was established and the benefits so far. Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost or abandoned at sea. Modern nets are made from plastic and so do not break down and ultimately remain a hazard in their final destination – in this case the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Megaplastic problem for ocean and coast

Ben Pearson, Senior Campaign Manager with World Animal Protection, brings us the latest on the threat to marine animals from ghost gear. Apart from plastic and micro plastics a big part of the problem is ghost gear in the form of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing nets from fishing boats. These are pouring into the world’s oceans at the rate of some 640,000 tons a year. They are a critical threat to marine life as they can entangle animals and drown them. The nets are immense, being kilometres long and as they are made of nylon plastic they can last for hundreds of years. The Gulf of Carpentaria is a hotspot for these nets which are coming from the industrial fishing organisations in Asia. World Animal Protection set up a global ghost gear initiative in 2015 bringing together all the stakeholders such as government, industry, academia and NGOs. World Animal Protection is trying to introduce practical programs through a Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) that helps prevent ghost gear from entering the oceans in the first place and to remove it. They are working with the Northern Prawn Fishery in the Gulf of Carpentaria to make sure they don’t contribute to ghost gear. Indigenous rangers remove ghost gear from beaches and rescue turtles caught in them.
 

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