The annual Norwegian retrieval survey is finished

About 800 gillnets, king crab pots and large amounts of rope and wires are among the gear recovered during the Directorate of Fisheries retrieval survey, which ended 24. September.


While the costal fishing fleet is getting better at reporting loss of fishing gear, it may seem like the high sea fleet has had a negative development. During this year's retrieval survey, an increasing amount of dumped trawl wires and various trawl components has been recovered.

From the Russian border to Ålesund

This year's retrieval survey was carried out along the Norwegian coast from the Russian border to Runde (just south of Ålesund) with the rented vessel "MS Vendla". Among other things, it was removed approx. 800 gillnets corresponding to approximately 25 kilometers of gill nets. The amount of fish and shellfish in the gear varied with age and sea depth, but gillnets with almost 4000 kg of fish or 1000 shellfish are not that uncommon and looks really bad. 

Blueling in gillnet


-   "The negative effect of such gillnets is significantly reduced by Norway having a good and well-functioning system for both reporting and removal of lost fishing gear, and nearly 90 percent of the recoverd gear  originates from registered positions given by the fishermen," says senior adviser and survey leader Gjermund Langedal at the Directorate of Fisheries.


Never has this much gear been returned to the fisherman

In addition, it was removed approx. 100 king crab pots in Finnmark, approx. 38000 meter rope / line, approx. 6000 meters of wire, 1 trawl, 1 danish seine, 2000 meters of danish seine rope and significant amounts of components from trawls such as seine bits, bobbins and trawl doors.

Despite periods of strong wind, three storms and a small hurricane, the retrieval work was only interrupted for a few hours. The result of this year's survey was good, while the amount of "waste" unloaded at the end of the survey was lower than normal. The reason is simply due to an increasing proportion of recovered gear are returned to the owner during the survey.

Gillnets delivered back to fisherman

"Never has more fishing gear been returned to the fishermen than in 2018. At times, the fishing vessels where all over in order to get their gear back. This is positive and a good circular economy," says Langedal.

Gillnets and king crab pots have the highest priority during the retrieval survey because these tools give the greatest risk of ghost fishing. In addition to ghost fishing, all lost or dumped gear increase the risk of further loss when new gear collide with them. Therefore, annual retrieval surveys are important.

"The result speaks for itself, and it shows how important annual cleanup is. Even though a lot of fishing gear is also being recovered through the scheme "Fishing for litter", this does not seem to have any impact on the results of our annual retrieval survey. This may be justified by the fact that we mainly focus on the "newly lost gear" to reduce the risk of ghost fishing, "says Langedal.  


Deliberate dumping

dumped trawlwire

- "In a time when marine litter have an ever-increasing focus, it is disappointing to find wire and danish seine rope from larger vessels which are recently dumped. This may not be the greatest danger in regard to ghost fishing, but it poses a significant danger to long line and gillnets. This is untenable and should belong to the past, "said Langedal. 


Lost trawlboard
Lost trawl door

Here is a video from the survey:  

The Norwegian retrieval survey

Published: 17.10.18