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Report of 2019 FAO Regional workshops on best practices to prevent and reduce abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear in collaboration with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Port Vila, Vanuatu, 27–30 May 2019. Bali, Indonesia, 8–11 June 2019. Dakar, Senegal, 14–17 October 2019. Panama City, Panama, 18–23 November 2019












FAO. 2020. Report of 2019 FAO Regional workshops on best practices to prevent and reduce abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear in collaboration with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. Port Vila, Vanuatu, 27–30 May 2019. Bali, Indonesia, 8–11 June 2019. Dakar, Senegal, 14–17 October 2019. Panama City, Panama, 18–23 November 2019. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report No 1312. Rome. 




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    Reporting and retrieval of lost fishing gear: recommendations for developing effective programmes 2022
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    Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear, alternately known as ALDFG or ghost gear is the most harmful form of marine plastic litter for marine animals and habitats. It also can impede safe navigation, mars beaches and reefs, and causes economic losses to fisheries and other marine-dependent industries across the globe. While current estimates of the amount of ALDFG in the ocean are not available, a growing body of evidence has documented high rates of ALDFG in fisheries around the world, with coincident costs to fisheries, harm to the environment, and safety risks. Because most fishing gear has significant plastic components, the negative impacts from ALDFG also include less direct but longer term impacts associated with other plastic pollution and microplastics including negative effects on biota, water quality and even human health. Advancing solutions to ALDFG on a global scale has gained momentum with the efforts of the FAO, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and the IMO through their multilateral fora (COFI, UNEA and MEPC); the publication and endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear (VGMFG); the IMO action plan to address marine plastic litter from ships; the creation of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI); and the establishment of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Pollution (GESAMP) Working Group 43. These efforts reflect the growing understanding that ALDFG is a considerable and damaging source of MPL in the ocean. With the publication of the VGMFG and the Best Practice Framework (BPF) for the management of fishing gear, there are now references for how to prevent loss of fishing gear and prevent harm from ALDFG. Focusing on two key recommendations of the VGMFG and the BPF, this report describes systems for fisher-led reporting and retrieval of lost fishing gear, identifies critical elements of successful programs, and recommends next steps for countries to develop successful programs.
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    Abandoned, lost and discarded gillnets and trammel nets: methods to estimate ghost fishing mortality, and the status of regional monitoring and management 2016
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    The ecological and socio-economic problems caused by abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) are increasingly of concern. Used primarily by coastal, artisanal, small-scale fisheries worldwide, marine gillnets and trammel nets, which have relatively high ghost fishing potential, account for about one-fifth of global marine fisheries landings. FAO and the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities, hosted by the United Nations Envi ronment Programme, as Secretariat for the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, commissioned this study to identify best practices to estimate ghost fishing mortality rates and levels, priority research needs, and the status of international monitoring and management of ALDFG and ghost fishing by marine gillnet and trammel net fisheries. Accurate estimates of total ghost fishing mortality levels can be made given quality data on the density of ALDFG retaining fishing efficiency, duration of ghost fishing efficiency, and total ghost fishing mortality level of a unit of effort of ALDFG over the full period that the derelict gear retains fishing efficiency. Recommendations to improve estimates of regional and global rates and levels of ghost fishing from ALDFG from marine gillnet and trammel net fisheries were made. An assessment was made and opportunities were identified to improve intergovernmental organizations’ data collection protocols and management measures to prevent and remediate ALDFG and ghost fishing by marine gillnets and trammel nets.
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    Report on good practices to prevent and reduce marine plastic litter from fishing activities 2022
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    Whilst conjecture remains regarding the quantity of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) entering the ocean, ALDFG is recognised as the most harmful form of marine plastic litter irrespective of whether it has been intentionally discarded or accidentally lost – harming vulnerable species, damaging fragile habitats as well as creating navigational hazards and depleting fish stocks. In turn, if left unmanaged, ALDFG can threaten food security, livelihoods and human health. In order to determine good practices to manage and ultimately prevent ALDFG, it is essential to understand the context of the current situation including sources, drivers and impacts of ALDFG. Here, we provide an overview of the status of the fishing related marine plastic litter problem, specifically ALDFG or “ghost gear”, and situate its impact and contribution to the broader sea-based marine plastic litter issue. A key component to successfully manage ALDFG, is heeding lessons learned from existing projects that are in place around the world, acknowledging that management strategies vary significantly across geographies and their application locally must be considered with local circumstances/needs. Using the good practice categories identified by the Global Ghost Gear Initiative’s Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear for Capture Fisheries, ten case studies are presented exemplifying key good practices for the prevention, mitigation and remediation of ALDFG. Based on the good practices identified from the case studies included and the broader global context of the ALDFG problem, this report provide recommendations of mechanisms that can be implemented by GloLitter participating countries and others aiming to prevent, mitigate and remediate fishing related marine plastic litter.

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