Ghost Gear Report - 30

3. INTERMEDIATE RISK GHOST
FISHING GEAR
3.1 TRAWL NETS are

a type of fishing gear towed by
fishing vessels that catches animals
with a cone-shaped "floating bag"
channeling fish into the codend.
Fish enter through a horizontal
opening of the gear that is usually
kept open with the help of a set of
beams, otter boards and cables.
They can be operated at different
depths such as mid-water trawls or
bottom trawls, the last one being
able to interact with the seabed.
These are active types of fishing
gear as they are actively towed to
seek species to catch them. These
types of fishing gear are usually
expensive hence fishers try to avoid
losing them. With technological
advancements nowadays they can
have marking devices to be able to
track them down if lost. However,
tracking is only possible when the
entire net is lost, which is very rare.

30

When trawling near the seabed,
especially in rocky substrates, it is
possible for nets to get stuck and
partially lost, particularly common
for bottom trawls. In this case, a
portion of the whole net is torn off,
which sinks towards the seabed
where it can rest or be affected by
bottom currents and be moved
around. Because it crumples
together on the seafloor, a piece of
trawl netting has small chances of
catching more fish, although it can
still entangle other species such
as crabs, and can affect the seabed
through smothering. Surface trawls
are typically made of polypropylen
which is lighter than water. Torn
fragments without weights or catch
tend to float on the surface, and
in this case, lost trawls can have
comparably negative impacts as the
FADs discussed above. See figures
10 and 11.



Ghost Gear Report

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