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Scientists and fishermen discuss the problem of abandoned fishing gear in the Barents Sea and develop ways to solve it
Премия рунета 2017

Scientists and fishermen discuss the problem of abandoned fishing gear in the Barents Sea and develop ways to solve it

25 march 2021
An international online seminar "Anthropogenic garbage in the Barents Sea: plastic, lost fishing gear" was held in Murmansk. More than 40 specialists from Russia, Norway, Holland and Iceland took part in it.

The marine litter problem has been around for many years. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage of various origins fall into the seas and oceans, including abandoned and lost fishing gear and their fragments, plastic household waste. Abandoned ropes, nets, traps, parts of trawls are a source of injury and death of marine mammals and birds. Arctic coast including walrus haul-outs is littered with garbage. In addition, floating pieces of fishing nets can pose a hazard to shipping.

The workshop participants shared their experience in collecting and processing data on abandoned fishing gear and talked about the reasons and possible measures to prevent littering.

(с) Tatiana Yulusova
“It is necessary to analyze the management scheme of fishing gear, study their “life” cycle, find weak links in this chain and create conditions that will stimulate fishermen to take a responsible attitude to production wastes, collect them and hand them over to reception points," Aleksey Golenkevich suggests, coordinator of sustainable fisheries projects, WWF-Russia Barents office.

In some cases, the loss of fishing gear occurs due to circumstances independent of a person, therefore, such situations are difficult to predict and prevent.

“One of the reasons for the loss of fishing gear is accidents that occur against the wishes of the crews of fishing vessels. But in connection with the renewal and technical re-equipment of the fishing fleet, such situations will be less and less, since the technical capabilities make it possible to reduce such risks,” Konstantin Drevetnyak comments, Director General of the Union of Fishery Industrialists of the North.
(c) Tatiana Yulusova

Fishing waste, as well as household waste, is largely due to the human factor. Therefore, another important part of the process is raising the awareness of ship crews about the negative consequences of fishing gear loss. One of the proposals is to include a special course in the training program for seafarers, as well as to develop visual aids for crew members.

As a result of the seminar, a working group will be created, the participants of which will be able to exchange experience, develop preventive measures, effective schemes for the collection and disposal of garbage, as well as share information materials on the problem of pollution of the Arctic seas.

For additional information please contact
Coordinator of sustainable fisheries projects, WWF-Russia Barents office
Press officer of Barents ecoregional programme