Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) can impact greatly on marine wildlife, ecosystems and navigation amongst other things. Reducing Ghost Gear is a priority for protecting marine environments and wildlife in the Pacific.
In February 2019, TierraMar ran a regional policy workshop on Best Practice Management of Fishing Gear. The workshop was conducted in partnership with World Animal Protection (WAP) and took place in Port Vila, Vanuatu as part of our activities under the CEFAS – Commonwealth Litter Programme (CLiP) Project, funded through DEFRA. Prior to the worksop, TierraMar undertook extensive national community and other stakeholder consultation to identify the extent of gear loss, and potential hot spot areas, and where possible to validate whether fishing gear used across Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are high risk gears in terms of potential impacts. A key component of the work was to understand why the gear loss was occurring or where it was coming from and to identify recommendations and potential solutions for reducing ALDFG in both countries.
Key outcomes from TierraMar’s activities under the CLiP project
- The development of a baseline understanding of the problem of lost fishing gear in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands,
- Coordinating research and consultation on the ground with fishing communities and other stakeholders,
- Identification of the causes of lost gear and recommendations for prevention.
The regional policy workshop facilitated discussions regarding best practice approaches to reducing the loss of fishing gear, as well as potential solutions to marine litter for pacific island countries. The Vanuatu Fisheries Department (VFD), Vanuatu Environmental Science Society (VESS), and other stakeholders were involved.
TierraMar also managed the first ghost gear removal project in the Pacific, with our in country partners in Vanuatu to remove a large seine net over a 3 day period within Port Vila Harbour as a demonstration project and to use it as an opportunity to provide training to government and dive industry representatives in ALDFG removal. TierraMar also ran a series of ghost net art workshops with local artists in each country to develop art pieces from ALDFG.