Private initiative for recovery of lost fishing gear
Several initiative towards recovery of lost fishing gear has come to life during the last couple of years. Green-Bay As is one of them.
During the last 25 years the lobster fishery and other pot and creel fisheries in Norway have undergone a significant change. While as fishermen used wooden natural degradable material before, they now use traps made of metal and plastic components. This has led to an accumulation of debris on popular fishing spots, and the problem becomes greater in size every year.
One of the severe effects is ghost fishing, which causes unnecessary suffering and disturbances in the natural environment. Such ghost fishing continues for many years and even decades until the gear/material is broken down. Furthermore; derelict fishing gear lead to a series of other negative effects such as marine littering, release of microplastics and the entangling of marine life. As we often see, new fishing gear get stuck in old derelict fishing gear, which again leads to new losses.
Green-Bay AS was started in 2018 and launched a pilot project on the southern Norwegian Skagerrak coast to clean up the seabed. Our cleanup project has been supported by the Norwegian Environmental Agency. This financial support has been a crucial factor for the realization of the project.
The project area selected is an area foreseen by the Municipality of Lillesand as a sanctuary for lobster, a species under pressure. The sanctuary is still not realized, but the a proper clean up in advance of the process would benefit the intention of the marine reserve.
In addition to cleaning derelict fishing gear our intention has also been to develop simple and cost-effective methods for seabed cleaning. Our approach is to use technological solutions in combination with in-depth knowledge of fishing and diving techniques and marine biological and -technological expertise.
In our pilot project we have used a combination of local knowledge, topographical studies, sonar scans, ROV retrieval of fishing gear on deep water and information exchange with the local diving community, which have cleaned the shallower parts of the bay.
The outcome from these efforts is that the bay has been cleaned for over 200 pots and creels during the summer and fall of 2018. In addition, several hundred meters of old gillnets have been removed. Even though a large proportion of these are now degraded and only littering the seabed, they have been fishing passively for many years. Newer findings that are less than three-five years old contain large numbers of fish, crabs and lobsters, either dead, damaged or alive. All the trapped catch is released during the clean-up actions.
Green-Bay Project involves many partners, and this has been key for the successful results. Both researchers, local-, regional- and national administrations play a role as well as local companies and volunteering organizations and individuals. Our incentive is that these methods and skills can be spread to similar projects along the coast.
We have witnessed a sincere and cooperative spirit; information from local fishermen has led to many findings, returning all gear that has been identifiable to the owners has led to more information from the recreational and professional fishing community. This again has led to better results.
The Green-Bay project demonstrates that many coastal areas can be cleaned with a correct project set-up, systematic approach, small vessels, low manning and affordable equipment.
Would you like to know more about the project?
Feel free to to Contact Green-Bay AS on the project page: www.fb.com/RentReservat.
Read more about other projects:
Articles about the retrivel unit "ResqUnit"
Articles about an app to for reporting lost fishing gear
Articles about a retriveal project in sweden
All the pictures is taken by Green-Bay As