Addressing ALDFG in Africa: A best practice guide

Gifford T, Randall P, Marlin D (eds) (2023) Addressing ALDFG in Africa: A best practice guide

Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is considered harmful not only because it
may lead to ghost fishing, but because fishing gear makes up a significant proportion of macrolitter in the
world’s oceans. Not only does ALDFG have the potential to continue fishing long after it has been lost,
and hence it is in direct competition with fisheries, but it also contributes to marine plastics and all the
associated harmful impacts that plastics have on the environment (smothering, microplastics, etc). There
is a paucity of information about ALDFG, especially in Africa. Many international organisations, research
institutes and NGOs have developed excellent guides for best practices towards mitigating ALDFG.
However, these guides are either broad in scope or based on information from developed countries, and
therefore contain guidance that is not applicable to African conditions. Consequently, this guide arose
from the urgent need to gather data on ALDFG in Africa, and to simultaneously begin to develop best
practices, that are useful for regional and/or local conditions within Africa.
The guide was developed through a collaborative process, consisting of both in-person and virtual
workshops, meetings and interviews with stakeholders who understand ALDFG within an African setting.
In this guide we discuss what and how data on ALDFG should be collected, who is responsible for this data
collection and who is responsible for the reporting of ALDFG. Within this guide, the marking of fishing gear
and fishing gear modification, including the use of biodegradable fishing gear, are discussed to see what
measures are feasible to African fishers. Case studies are included to showcase the work already taking
place in African countries towards gathering ALDFG data, working with communities to raise awareness,
and creating innovative solutions for end-of-life fishing gear. The guide is a working document and serves
as a starting point to develop best practices for ALDFG for African fisheries, so that we may collectively
work towards a future where the people of Africa and her seas flourish together.