Responsible Fishing Practices for Sustainable Fisheries

Sea-based sources of marine litter

2021 Gilardi, K., ed.

The report provides an overview of the current state of knowledge in terms of the sources, relative contribution and data gaps when it comes to sea-based sources of marine litter.  A section of the report is dedicated to fishing as a marine litter source. 

Main findings of the report related to the fishing sector include:

- How does fisheries contribute to marine litter? Abandoned, Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) is a major source of marine litter arising from the fisheries sector.

- What are the causes? Causes of ALDFG vary and include: Environmental; Gear/vessel conflict; regulations; IUU fishing; and operator error.

- How much? Crude historical estimates of ALDFG range from between 640,000 tonnes - 1,350 tonnes pa. The report identifies gaps and stresses the need for improved estimates.

- What is the impact? The impacts of ALDFG include: Economic losses; ghost fishing; habitat damage; and navigation hazard.

GESAMP is an advisory body consisting of scientific experts nominated by the Sponsoring Organizations (IMO, FAO, UNESCO-IOC, UNDP, UNIDO, WMO, IAEA, UN, UNEP, ISA). Its principal task is to provide scientific advice concerning the prevention, reduction and control of the degradation of the marine environment to the Sponsoring Organizations.

A recording of the GESAMP WG 43 webinar promoting this publication is available on an IMO YouTube channel here.

For more information, access the GESAMP website.

Download a copy here