Ghost Gear

Did you know that most of the ocean’s plastic pollution comes from abandoned fishing gear? Called Ghost Gear, fishing gear left behind by fishermen hurts marine life and ocean ecosystems.

Ghost Gear | Maine Island Kayak Co
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In fact, according to the Guardian, 640,000 tons of Ghost Gear are discarded into the ocean each year, which is the equivalent of 55,000 double-decker buses stacked together.

St Maarten Double Decker Bus Sightseeing Tour with Orient Bay 2021
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Fishing gear can be abandoned for many reasons. According to the Ghost Gear Initiative, these reasons include “severe weather, snags beneath the surface, conflict with other gear, interaction with other vessels and, rarely, intentional discard when no other options are available.” In other words, storms, gear getting caught on things in the water, getting tangled with other fishing gear, and getting caught when boats get close to each other, and people choosing to leave the gear in the ocean create Ghost Gear.

Green Plastics' Give Ghost Gear New Life
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While it might not seem like a big deal to abandon fishing gear, 70% of large plastics floating in the ocean are made up of Ghost Gear. This floating gear can cause animals like sea turtles can get caught in nets.

Progress to tackle fishing 'ghost gear' missing best-practice leadership,  report claims
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Because of this, it’s important to make sure we use legal fishing measures and properly dispose of fishing nets. That way, we can minimize the impact of Ghost Gear on our oceans.

So remember: don’t leave your gear unattended, because it will come back to haunt you (ghost pun intended)!

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