The economic impacts of introducing biodegradable fishing gear as a ghost fishing mitigation in the English Channel static gear fishery

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We address the economic impacts of the role of Biodegradable Fishing Gear (BFG) as a mitigation measure for the ghost fishing impact of lost fishing gear, through scenarios based on industry interviews. We find that the use of BFG is a technical challenge and not an economic problem. The majority of costs to fishermen in terms of BFG use are not related to investment and maintenance costs rather the impact of reduced fishing efficiency. At the Channel static gear fishery level, we estimate the costs of implementing BFG to be as high as £8 million. If the issue of fishing efficiency was resolved (i.e. BFG was a like-for-like) then the large negative costs could be overturned to between a cost of £880,000 and a small positive benefit of around £150,000. Considering the negative environmental impacts of lost gear, the benefits of BFG use over traditional fishing gear would grow exponentially.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114918
Number of pages12
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Early online date16 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


  • abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear
  • biodegradable fishing gear
  • Channel
  • economic impacts
  • fishing efficiency
  • incentives

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