When synthetic non-biodegradable fishing nets are lost, abandoned, or discarded at sea is plastic oceans. For they may continue to catch fish and other animals for a long period of time. This is a phenomenon is known as ‘ghost fishing’. New research also shows that a biodegradable net material can be used to create nets. I mean those that have similar catch rates as conventional nets. However, they decompose after a certain period of time under water.

Decomposing Nets


The Animal Conservation findings suggest that biodegradable netting may become a feasible alternative. That’s to conventional nylon netting and can contribute to reducing ghost fishing.

I mean a wide variety of materials are available to manufacture fishing nets. Until the early 1960s, natural materials such as cotton and hemp were commonly used. With the advent of polyamide-based nylon after World War II, synthetic fibers quickly replaced natural materials (von Brandt, 1984). So that’s where the problem begins. The excellent fishing performance. Also high strength and low price of synthetic materials. For they contributed to the development of worldwide gillnet and driftnet fisheries (Anonymous, 1990; Wright & Doulman, 1991; Richards, 1994).

Synthetic Nets

The major drawback of synthetic nets is that they are very resistant to degradation. So once they have been lost, abandoned or discarded at sea bad news. For this is derelict fishing gear. That’s where it may ghost fish. All where the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) continues to catch fish. Moreover and other animals too (Kaiser et al., 1996; Erzini et al., 1997; Humborstad et al., 2003; Pawson, 2003; Revill & Dunlin, 2003; Santos et al., 2003; Tschernij & Larsson, 2003; Ayaz et al., 2006; Baeta, Costa & Cabral, 2009). Ghost fishing may trigger a vicious circle of fish. I mean and other marine organisms being caught in derelict nets. Thereby dying and acting as bait that lures in other organisms. These ghost fishing losses are undesirable. That’s for socioeconomic and conservation reasons.

Abandoned Fishing Nets

Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear from net fisheries. For they may also entangle and kill larger marine animals and sea birds. Also disturb spawning grounds and smother habitats. Thereby serving as major hazards and a long-term threat in marine environments (Sheldon, 1975; High, 1976; Matsuoka, Nakashima & Nagasawa, 2005; Gilman et al., 2013; Wilcox et al., 2013). Furthermore, synthetic fishing nets which by the time have weathered and fragmented into smaller particles at sea. For they will eventually accumulate in marine ecosystems. Moreover and may have significant biochemical long-term effects on marine biota (e.g. Moore, 2008).

Source: Wiley News

Kim, S., Kim, P., Lim, J., An, H. and Suuronen, P. (2016), Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties
and fishing performance for yellow croaker. Animal Conservation.  doi: 10.1111/acv.12256