Sotenäs municipality against ghost fishing

On the west coast of Sweden, the municipality of Sotenäs has started a project to enhance the sea environment and fishing possibilities. One big part of the project is to clean up the ocean floor from derelict fishing gear.

There is a lot of lost fishing gear in the ocean, among 3000 to 5000 lobster pots is lost along the west coast of Sweden each year. The loss of fishing gear in unavoidable for professional anglers, and even if they try to pick up the lost gear, there is still a lot left in the ocean.

During 2017, the first part of the project where Sotenäs salvaged lost fishing gear was completed. The salvage was done by dragging and with help from divers. The material from the salvaged gear got recycled at recycling stations in Denmark and Sweden.

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Many of the salvaged fishing gear had been in the ocean for a long time, as you can see on the image. Photo: Sotenäs municipality

The Diving

During two days, the participants of the project tried to salvage gear by diving after it. At the beginning, no lost fishing gear was found, but when the divers started to look closer to the coastline, they found many lobster pots.

The divers and the crew on board used a heavy rope with big anglers to pick up the gear.

Conclusions

The amount of lost fishing gear during the few days the project was out at sea was massive, so it is clearly necessary to clean up the ocean from lost fishing gear.

The fishermen who helped to point out where lost gear could be found was a great help during the process.

Far from the coastline, dragging was the best method, but closer to land where the ocean floor is rocky, diving was the best choice.

When the lost fishing gear was salvaged, many held living lobsters, crabs and cods imprisoned, so for regard to the living creatures, it is important to pick up lost gear.

Three crabs and one lobster could be return to the open ocean when this lost pot was salvaged. Photo: Sotenäs municipality