App to help reduce ghost fishing in recreational fishing
For several years, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has had an app available with information regarding recreational fishing. In 2017, the app was updated to include reporting of lost your fishing gear. A new version will be available during summer 2018, where divers can report if they retrieve any ghost gear from the sea. Furthermore, the data will be sent to Norway’s largest research institution (Institute of marine research) to contribute in research and mapping the problem with ghost fishing
Several years ago, the recreational fishing app was lunched and last year (2017) the app was drastically improved through a new function which allowed the users to reporting loss of fishing gear. The goal was to make it easier to contribute to the clean up of the ocean and reduce the danger of ghost fishing.
The person that lost the fishing gear can report the type of gear, the amount and the position of the gear. By searching in the map, it is possible to find this information for each object and thereby choose which gear to start searching for. For the findings to be registered one has to register on the app and upload a picture of what has been found.
The idea was to link information about were fishing gear from the recreational fisheries has been lost and make this information available for volunteers and groups, for instance, diving clubs, that can contribute to find such gear and remove them from the sea bed. Read more at HERE.
Now, a new version of the app is on the way and will be available during the summer 2018. The new version makes it possible for divers to connect there profile to a diving club and then get access to a more advanced reporting system for reporting ghost gear they retrieves from the sea. The new report system consist of a form made by the Institute of marine research (IMR) and acquire information about the gear, the content of the gear, the possibility to upload pictures and more. The information is sent to IMR and is used to look at the quantity of ghost fishing, to assess the new biodegradable thread implemented in the Norwegian lobster fishery (More information of the biodegradable thread if found HERE) and for other kind of research toward ghost fishing.
IMR premieres the divers when they retrieve ghost gear (in particular pots) and submit a proper report from the retrieved gear. This has been a efficient way of gather data, and to get rid of a bunch of ghost gear. The divers retrieved approximately 4000 pots in 2016 and 2017, and the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries hopes the new function in the app will lead to even more retrieved pots.