Ghost gear: The most dangerous marine litter endangering ocean
Lost, abandoned, or discarded fishing gear is commonly called ghost gear is having an inevitable environmental, social and economic impact, which we never see or consider. The lost gear keeps catching marine fauna, including mammals, fishes, crabs. This undermines the sustainability and economic returns of fishers as part of their harvest are lost. Ghost gear also damages suitable marine habitats such as coral reefs, seagrass beds, and benthic algae. As a result, we are losing the keystone species from marine habitat. While the problem is known for decades, in the last few years only we have begun to understand the extent of the issue, and many international instruments have been made to mitigate the problem. However, the existing instruments are not performing up to a great extent to address all the issues. We need to take strict enforcement and management strategies to reduce the harmful impacts of ghost gear. In this regard, much government needs to create mass awareness among the fisheries around the globe. We can also adopt mitigation options such as biodegradable materials for gear making and gear marking systems to minimize ghost fishing.