Biodegradability and sustainable fisheries: the case for static gear in the UK Channel fishery

Benjamin M. Drakeford*, Andy Forse, Pierre Failler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is created by the fishing industry and directly impacts fishers’ livelihoods through ghost fishing, entanglements and presents navigational hazards. In addition, ALDFG creates a myriad of environmental and socioeconomic impacts that affect fisheries and other commercial sectors operating in the marine environment, as well as recreational users and land-based sectors e.g. tourism. Given the inefficiencies of current approaches to deal with ALDFG, urgent solutions are required. Biodegradability, as a design feature of fishing gear, is not a new idea, but it is one that requires further research to fully understand the potential role of biodegradable fishing gear (BFG) to mitigate (various) environmental and economic impacts of ALDFG. In this paper, we focus on the role of BFG in the Channel static gear fishery, engaging stakeholders through one-to-one interviews at the quayside to consider their views on the role of BFG in their fishery. This research demonstrates the complexity of the problem and the solution. By collecting the fishery's concerns, enthusiasm and requirements regarding BFG it adds a powerful new strand to the debate, moving it on from simply a ‘cost to replace’ to ensuring that it meets the detailed requirements of a fishery that relies on specificity to earn a living.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105774
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Policy
Volume155
Early online date2 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear
  • Biodegradable fishing gear
  • Channel fishery
  • Fishing efficiency
  • Incentives

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