Title Biodegradable Fishing Gear Isn't Good Enough Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Hakai magazine Media type Web Duration/Length/Size 800 words Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 14/09/23 Description For commercial fishers, losing gear is part of doing business. Fishing lines and nets break and wear out over time or have to be cut loose when gear snags on the seafloor. By one estimate, at least 50,000 tonnes of nets, lines, and traps disappear into the water globally each year. In California alone, as many as 14,000 crab traps are lost or discarded each season. Most of this material is plastic, and lots of it is still partially functional, meaning it can go on catching and killing marine life for centuries—a process known as ghost fishing.
For several years, scientists, fishers, and conservations have been eyeing a not-so-novel solution: biodegradable fishing gear. Made of things like microalgae fibers or biodegradable polyesters, this equipment can be broken down by aquatic microorganisms. Yet while these environmentally friendly nets offer benefits, recent field trials conducted largely in Norway and South Korea show that biodegradable nets catch significantly fewer fish than synthetic ones.
Benjamin Drakeford, a marine resource economist at the University of Portsmouth in England, puts it bluntly: “Biodegradable gear right now is not very good.”
Producer/Author Alastair Bland URL https://hakaimagazine.com/news/biodegradable-fishing-gear-isnt-good-enough/ Persons Ben Drakeford