Matching fishery-specific drivers of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear to relevant interventions

Gilman E, Humberstone J, Wilson J, et al (2022) Matching fishery-specific drivers of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear to relevant interventions. Marine Policy 141:105097.

Also published as WCPFC-SC18-2022/EB-IP-22.

There has been increasing recognition of the need to address adverse ecological and socioeconomic effects of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG). This component of marine debris has been progressively problematic over recent decades with the rapid expansion of global fisheries’ footprint and effort, and the transition to synthetic and more durable materials for gear components. ALDFG drivers and consequences vary substantially by gear type, region, scale and individual fishery within these and other broad categories, including by the robustness of the fisheries management framework and influence of market-based incentives. Therefore, relevant interventions to avoid, minimize and remediate ALDFG depend on the fishery-specific context. This study compiled comprehensive, cross-referenced databases of causes of ALDFG production, and mitigation methods and enabling conditions for effective ALDFG management. Management interventions were categorized within a sequential mitigation hierarchy, where approaches to avoid and minimize ALDFG production and adverse consequences are considered before potentially less effective and more costly interventions for remediation and offsets. The linked databases enable discovery of the most promising ALDFG mitigation methods and priority fisheries management improvements so that a broader range of ALDFG policy interventions can be tapped. Illustrative case studies of ALDFG drivers and interventions were explored for gillnet, pelagic longline, trap and anchored fish aggregating device fisheries. By enabling stakeholders to identify the subset of alternative interventions that are relevant to fishery-specific ALDFG drivers and enabling conditions, the cross-referenced databases guide the allocation of resources to mitigate this especially problematic component of global marine litter.