App to help reduce ghost fishing in recreational fishing
For several years, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has had an app available with information regarding recreational fishing. In 2017, the app was updated to include reporting of lost fishing gear. A new version was made available in 2018, and now divers can report if they retrieve any ghost gear from the sea. The goal was to make it easier to contribute to the clean-up of the ocean and reduce the risk of ghost fishing.Furthermore, the data will be sent to Norway’s largest research institute (The Institute of Marine Research, IMR) to contribute in research and mapping the problem of ghost fishing
Several years ago, the recreational fishing app was launched and in 2017 the app was improved through a new function which allowed the users to reporting loss of fishing gear.
The person who lose the fishing gear can report the type of gear, the amount and the position of the gear in the app. By searching in the map, it is possible to find this information for each object and thereby choose which gear to start searching for. For the findings to be registered one has to register in the app and upload a picture of what has been found.
The idea was to link information about where fishing gear from the recreational fisheries has been lost and make this information available to the authorities and volunteers, for instance, diving clubs, that can contribute to find such gear and remove them from the sea bed. Read more at the link: HERE.
The new version makes it possible for divers to connect their profile to a diving club and then get access to a more advanced reporting system for reporting ghost gear they retrieve from the sea. The new report system consist of a form made by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and acquire information about the gear, the content of the gear, the possibility to upload pictures and more. The information is sent to IMR and is used to look at the quantity of ghost fishing, to assess the new biodegradable thread implemented in the Norwegian lobster fishery (More information of the biodegradable thread if found HERE) and for other kind of research toward ghost fishing.
IMR premieres the divers when they retrieve ghost gear (in particular pots) and submit a proper report from the retrieved gear. This has been a efficient way of gather data, and to get rid of a bunch of ghost gear. The divers retrieved approximately 4000 pots in 2016 and 2017, and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries hopes the new function in the app will lead to even more retrieved pots.