Ghost fishing gear and their effect on ecosystem services – Identification and knowledge gaps
Abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is claimed to be a global problem with impacts on marine animals and ecosystems, posing considerable ecological and socioeconomic challenges. Nonetheless, insufficient understanding regarding how marine ecosystem services are affected by ALDFG creates a knowledge gap that challenges a holistic estimation of the long-term economic impacts of using non-degradable fishing gear. In this study, a systematic review and meta-analysis of the existing literature on ALDFG and ghost fishing is conducted, with the aim to assess findings in the literature and identify knowledge gaps. 90 published works were included in the systematic review, of which 67 were examined further in the meta-analysis. We identified a limited number of economic studies, as well as research from developing countries. Focus is largely on ghost fished commercial species, while other species, and non-use values are largely ignored. Though provisioning, supporting and cultural services are represented in the studies, regulating services impacted for instance by the marine plastic pollution of ALDFG, received no attention. Expanding research to include more of these currently lacking elements may be vital for efficient management in relation to ALDFG.