Fishing Practice & Gear Inventory: Enhancing Understanding of Abandoned Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG)

Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear

iStock 970117754The overall goal of the project is to increase understanding and develop reliable informational resources of fishing activity in the Arctic and near-Arctic, in order to inform gear identification as part of monitoring or removal. This additional knowledge could help inform ALDFG prevention and intervention efforts by understanding differences in gear composition over space, and eventually over time.

Through this project, multiple Arctic States would work to catalogue the current fishing practices, activities, and gear types employed in Arctic and near-Arctic waters. This would help to identify which types of gear may be most likely to contribute to marine litter, and to determine commonalities and differences between specific threats or concerns within Arctic sub-regions. The results would also be helpful in categorizing and classifying available records of ALDFG that has been recovered and in understanding potential sources, pathways, and fate of ALDFG and associated equipment, especially as fishing effort shifts farther north to follow commercially and culturally significant species.

Main activities:

  1. Collect information on current practices gathered from Arctic States and non-Arctic States fishing in the area, which may help identify which gear could contribute to marine litter in the Arctic;
  2. Categorize and classify available records of ALDFG that has been recovered to understand potential sources, pathways, and fates of ALDFG and associated equipment, especially as fishing effort shifts farther north to follow biomass;
  3. Design a visualization tool and structure to present data in a common format. A visualization structure would incorporate intuitive representation of fishing areas by country, target species, fishing gear by type, as well as any additional parameters identified. This could take the form of static maps or dynamic online tools, depending on assessed utility and resource availability; and,
  4. Conduct outreach and communication on the data and lessons learned by providing information to partners on the availability and location(s) of data in order to inform and target ALDFG prevention and intervention efforts.

Leads: Norway, United States

ALDFG is a common topic of focus and key source of marine litter in the Arctic, as identified in the PAME Desktop Study on Marine Litter including Microplastics in the Arctic. However, while there is specific or localized knowledge on gear types or practices in use by the practitioners of the fisheries, there is not a broad scale understanding of commonalities or differences across countries or fisheries. This project would fill that gap by creating a simple map of active fishing areas, the gear that is used there, and the species targeted. Later iterations could include more information such as level of effort or productivity/catch.


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