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Ghost gear initiative nets impressive results

An initiative led by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has succeeded in retrieving from the seabed over 24 km of discarded gill nets and 44 km of ropes that had been lost or abandoned by fishermen.

Taking place over 34 days along the Norwegian coast between Ålesund and the Russian border, the collected nets will be transported to Nofir's factory for recycling.

In total the initiative landed:

  • - ≈ 850 gillnets (total length 24,000 m)
  • - ≈ 150 king crab pots
  • - ≈ 44,000 m of ropes
  • - ≈ 2000 m of wires
  • - ≈ 700 m of Danish seine ropes
  • - Small amounts of trawls and purse seine nets

Never before had more fishing gear been returned to fishermen than in 2017. Fishermen and other interested parties can access the Fisheries Directorate's map tool to see what has been removed in the various areas. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and Nofir have been cooperating since 2010. Over the last seven years more than 300 bags of equipment have been delivered for recycling, in most cases they will end up as a new products.

"The cleanup action has been successfully completed. It's very satisfying to see how many ghost nets we have collected this year but at the same time it's terrifying to notice an increasing amount of plastics from all categories caught in the fishing gear,” says Gjermund Langedal, Project Manager, The Directorate of Fisheries.

New research shows that as much as 20 million tonnes of plastics end up in the world's ocean every year. Ghost nets are extremely dangerous for marine ecosystems, killing millions of marine animals annually. The retrieval actions organized by Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries help to reduce amount of plastic pollution in Norwegian waters.