A new plan to protect our oceans from ‘ghost fishing’ has been unveiled today by Conservative MEP John Flack.
Marine wildlife and coral reefs are being destroyed as fishing nets continue to trawl the seas long after fishermen have lost or discarded them. The nets 'ghost fish' anything in their path as they are carried by the oceans' currents. Mr Flack is recommending that these new measures are included in the EU's new plastic strategy.
The proposals recommend that the EU and Member States:
- Set up port reception schemes where financial incentives are offered to fishermen for returning unwanted nets.
- Incentivise vessels to use technology to track and if necessary retrieve their lost nets
- Support research into biodegradable nets to speed up their development
Mr Flack, who is leading the European Parliament's Fisheries committee's response to the EU's plastic strategy, said: "'Ghost fishing' is a hidden problem doing untold damage to our oceans. Fishermen do understand the value of our oceans and respect them, but their lost and discarded fishing nets continue to plague our seas.
"Not only do the abandoned fishing nets contribute to the world's growing plastic waste problem but they indiscriminately trawl our seas of protected marine wildlife, damage coral reefs and waste our fishing stocks.
"My proposals are bold and ambitious, but also offer a realistic plan to significantly reduce the damage done to our oceans by 'ghost fishing'."