CSIRO reveals how much lost fishing gear is in the worlds oceans

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has revealed the worlds first ever estimate of commercial fishing gear that is floating in the worlds oceans.

After compiling data from 68 studies, which were undertaken between 1975 and 2017, CSIRO PhD Student from the Marine Debris Team, Kelsey Richardson said that around 6 per cent of all fishing nets, 9 per cent of all traps, and 29 per cent of all lines are lost or discarded into oceans each year.

"The type of fishing gear used, along with how and where it is used, can all influence gear loss by fishers," she said.

"We found that bad weather, gear becoming ensnared on the seafloor, and gear interfering with other gear types are the most common reasons for commercial fishing gear being lost."

The CSIRO also stated that fishing gear takes hundreds of years to break down and poses a threat to marine life as well as the navigation of marine vessels.

The news of the large amount of lost fishing equipment in our oceans arrives only days after a whale was spotted in Port Elliot, tangled in rope.

Earlier this year, in April, a Humpback Whale was seen entangled in what was thought to be a crayfish pot, rope and buoys off the coast of Victor Harbor.

Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO's Oceans and Atmosphere, Dr Denise Hardesty said the new global estimates on fishing gear losses fill a critical knowledge gap.

"By understanding where and why gear is lost, we can help target interventions to reduce fishing gear ending up in our oceans.

"When fishers lose gear at sea, they are not only adding to plastic pollution, but affecting their livelihoods.

"An estimated 40.3 million people are employed in fisheries globally and the costs of replacing gear can add up quickly.

"Reducing the amount that ends up in the oceans is good for industry, good for the environment, and good for global food security."

Any sightings of entangled wildlife should be reported to the Department of Environment and Water (DEW) on 08 8204 1910.

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