Discarded Fishing Traps Wreaking Extensive Environmental Damage, NOAA Research Finds

Source: Planet Save

It may not be something that you’ve ever given any thought to, but there are literally thousands of fishing traps that are lost or simply abandoned every year in US waters — what happens to these traps after being abandoned?

It should go without saying, they continue to catch and kill sea-life (fish, turtles, carbs, etc) — even though no one will be there collect there. A good example of some of the waste and carelessness that is so common in the world today. So what to do?

Well, according to a new study from NOAA, these losses from “ghost fishing” (as it’s known) are largely preventable — but that will require strong action, somewhat decidedly lacking in the national discourse lately.

“Before this report, the marine debris community lacked comparable data on derelict traps,” stated Courtney Arthur, research specialist for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and lead author of the study. “We had different pieces of information, but not a whole picture. This paper connects those pieces and identifies areas where we need to focus our efforts.”

“People may not realize that derelict traps can catch not just the target species of the fishery, but also other animals including threatened and endangered species where populations are already very low. Derelict traps can also harm sensitive habitats like coral reefs and salt marsh so they have a bigger impact than might be anticipated,” noted Ariana Sutton-Grier, PhD, NOAA’s National Ocean Service ecosystem science adviser and co-author of the study.

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