The committee was specifically asked to address the challenges surrounding derelict fishing gear. While regulated under MARPOL Annex V and domestic implementing laws, it is a persistent problem because of accidental losses and legal loopholes. Also, current regulations do not include accountability measures for commercial and recreational fishing vessels for loss of their fishing gear, offering few incentives to take responsibility for cleanup.
Effective marking of fishing gear is critical for identifying the sources or fisheries that may have deployed the gear, and NOAA should develop marking protocols, the report claims. Fishery management organizations should also adopt a "no fault" policy regarding the documentation and recovery of lost fishing gear. Under this policy, local fishermen, state officials, and the public should develop cost-effective derelict fishing gear removal and disposal programs, and fishermen participating in removal efforts could receive financial credit or be exempted from landfill fees.
Moreover, the high costs and difficulty in providing adequate reception facilities, particularly in remote areas, discourages proper disposal of used fishing gear and can also be a disincentive to retrieval. Therefore, EPA, NOAA, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should help fishing communities explore alternative strategies and technologies for management, disposal, and recycling of used and recovered gear.
Within the issue of derelict fishing gear, the committee also addressed the growing concern about a specific type of gear known as fish aggregating devices, which are man-made floating objects designed to simulate natural debris and attract fish. These devices pose a threat as they are allowed to float freely and are often made of waste fishing net. The committee concluded that abandoned fish aggregating devices become derelict fishin
|Contact: Jennifer Walsh|
National Academy of Sciences