A few days ago, we highlighted derelict crab and lobster trap projects we’re supporting across the United States, in an effort to reduce “ghostfishing” and other impacts from derelict fishing gear.
But traps and pots aren’t the only kind of derelict fishing gear that causes problems – fishing nets can also entangle animals, damage habitat, and put vessels at risk for years after they’re lost in the ocean or Great Lakes.
Fortunately, groups all over the country are tackling derelict nets as well. The Marine Debris Program is supporting various net removal efforts, as well as education and outreach on how to prevent fishing net loss. For example, if you’re a recreational angler in the Great Lakes, do you know how to spot an active commercial gill net in the water in order to avoid running over it?
Here are a few recent derelict fishing net projects the NOAA Marine Debris Program is funding or supporting across the country!
- In Washington State, the Northwest Straits Initiative has removed nearly 5,000 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound since 2002.
- In Wisconsin, we partnered up with Wisconsin Sea Grant to educate the fishing community about ghost nets in Lake Superior, where storms, wind, shifting ice, and waves cause commercial fishers to lose gill nets.
- In Hawai‘i, the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund is removing marine debris from Hawai‘i’s Ka‘ū Coast, where nearly 65 percent of the debris removed is fishing net bundles.
- Also in Hawai‘i, NOAA’s team of marine debris divers heads to the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument each year to remove derelict nets and plastics from the sensitive coral reefs and shorelines. Last year, they removed 57 tons of debris!
- We also continue to support Fishing for Energy, a program that provides fishermen with a no-cost way to dispose of old fishing gear, as well as funding for gear innovation projects. This program has collected nearly 3 million pounds of gear to-date.