The northernmost retrieval survey has ended
Never before has the Norwegian retrieval survey been so far north to retrieve lost fishing gear. This, in order to prevent ghost fishing and reduce marine litter. The total “catch” is one of the largest since the start of the annual retrieval surveys.
It is the first time in the Directorate of Fisheries' almost 40-year gear retrieval history, there have conducted retrieval actions in the Svalbard zone, almost 77 degrees north.
- Under good working conditions, a total of 1200 snow crab pots and 50 km of rope were removed from the seabed, says Gjermund Langedal at the Directorate of Fisheries Development Section.
- On the fishing fields along the Norwegian coast, the result compare with previous years, with more than 800 gillnets.
-We register that the "Norwegian system" works well. The system requires that fishermen report loss of fishing gear through established routines and retrieval survey is carried out based on the report. This is very important in order to reduce the risk of unnecessary and unethical death as well as an effective solution to reduce the risk of this, over time, becoming micro plastics.
Gillnets and pots have the highest priority during the retrieval survey but significant quantities of other fishing gear is also been found. All types of fishing gear pose a potential risk of further loss when it hooks or entangles with newer gear. Therefore, annual retrieval survey is very important.
From departure to arrival it has been 36 days and with 2200 km between the southernmost and northernmost station, over 800 gillnets, 25 kilometers of gillnets. 1242 pots, around 57000 meters of ropes, approx. 24000 meters longlines and approx. 800 meter wire. Furthermore, 1 shrimp trawl, parts of whitefish trawl and 2 danish seines was also removed. In addition, smaller components of fishing gear has found and removed, which together make up several containers.
The amount of fish and shellfish varies with sea depth, place and time since it where lost, but gillnets and pots appear to be the most dangerous gear in regard to ghost fishing. That is why, among other things, experiments with degradable gillnets are ongoing and requirements for escape holes are introduced in more and more types of pots. One whale carcass was also recorded, which was attached to ropes from pots and a seal drowned in a pot.
Reuse, recycling or landfill
Much of the retrieved fishing gear is perfectly usable for fishing and some of the less good gear contains expensive components that can be used further. "Recycling hype" has also reached fishing gear, but not all gear is possible to recycle or it becomes too expensive. - We try as far as possible to find solutions to deliver the fishing gear back to the owner, as long as there is interest and it is practically possible, we try delivered for recycling. The gear that has no further life is transported to landfills, ends Langedal