Ghostfishing – A Scary Halloween Ocean Tale

by Lana Brandt on October 25th, 2012

By Lana Gunnlaugson, National SeaChoice Manager

Next Wednesday is Halloween and although I love a spooky ghost story, there is one ocean tale that chills me to the bone. Ghostfishing is a story about how abandoned fishing gear is irresponsibly left in the ocean to accidentally fish and trap animals, threaten habitat and potentially even strangle or kill ocean life. But unlike Scream or Friday the 13th, Ghostfishing is a real problem that exists in our oceans.

Marine pollution is a serious issue for the oceans and much of the debris littering the water column and ocean floor found is from abandoned fishing gear and traps. We continue to hear about debris washing up on our shores and great garbage patches double the size of Texas floating in the ocean. Knowing that part of this waste is caused by irresponsible fishing practices is unacceptable. Our oceans give us so much and overfishing is already a serious enough problem on its own without adding ghostfishing to the situation.

Luckily the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is working with fishers to clean up this problem by providing a place for disposing of fishing gear for free. And by partnering with Fishing for Energy, fishing gear is creatively  recycled. Already in the first three years of this program, over one million pounds of abandoned fishing gear has been collected and removed from the ocean. Help spread the word about ghostfishing and be sure to take action by joining a local shoreline cleanup near you. From your friends at SeaChoice have a spooktacular Halloween!

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