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Norwegian authorities take measures to avoid ghost fishing in the lobster fishery (updated version)

As of 2018, Norwegian authorities had decided to demand a specific escape vent in the pot fisheries towards lobster. The solution will ensure that lost pots on the seabed do not become eternal traps for shellfish and fish. Requirements on the new solution is the use of cotton wire with short breakdown time in parts of the pot. This will ensure an escape possibility for the caught fish and shellfish.

New knowledge

Commercial fishing for lobster is somewhat limited in Norway, but recreational fishing for lobster is very popular. Recent knowledge has shown that loss of pots is significantly greater than what was earlier assumed. Additionally, it is known that lost pots can work as a trap for many years. The focus on developing ever better and more solid pots in late degradable material increase the challenge at loss. There is no organized cleanup after lost pots in the lobster fishery, but the prize scheme for discovering  and taking up lost pots and the launch of a new app (link) has contributed to the removal of thousands of pots from the seabed. However, all the pots will not be removed and it is important to ensure a solution that minimizes the danger of ghost fishing.

 

Long-term development work.

It is almost 3 years since the Directorate of Fisheries and the Institute of Marine Research began to look at this issue. A solution by using biodegradable wire or other biodegradable components in the pots is not new and is used in several countries. However, it has been very important to find a solution that reduces the disadvantage in the fishery, while ensuring and safeguarding the marine life. It has taken 2 years of testing different types of devices and different types of wire. The test showed that the quality and decomposition time on cotton from different parts of the world was very different. Adequate testing to conclude what type of cotton wire and the correct thickness has been absolutely necessary to ensure that such measures function as intended.

 

In a rush to reach 2018

Lobster fishing is not opened until October 1st in 2018, but it is still a short time to set requirement on the new pots who will be ordered for the lobster season in 2018. At the end of November, the Directorate of Fisheries have a meeting with fishermen, researchers and tool manufacturers with regard to fixing the requirement specification for mounting that should be adapted so the solution can be applied to the various types of pots already in used.

Click HERE to find a installation description. (Only in Norwegian)

Lobster rescued from a lost pot

Copyright: Tor Oppegård