May. 2023

Ghost fishing in Scotland

Earlier this month we went to the skipper expo in Aberdeen. It was a valuable experience, and gave us an opportunity to hear from the locals.

Ghost fishing is a growing concern in Scotland’s marine environment. This phenomenon occurs when abandoned or lost fishing gear, such as nets and lines, continue to fish and entangle marine life, causing harm and death to a range of species.

The issue of ghost fishing in Scotland has been highlighted by several studies, which show that lost or abandoned fishing gear is a major source of marine debris, with some estimates suggesting that it accounts for up to 10% of all marine litter.

The impact of ghost fishing on Scotland’s marine life can be significant, with entangled animals often suffering from injuries, infections, and starvation, which can lead to a decline in population numbers. Ghost fishing can also have economic consequences for the fishing industry, as lost gear can represent a significant financial loss.

Efforts to address ghost fishing in Scotland are ongoing, with a range of initiatives aimed at preventing the loss of fishing gear and recovering lost gear from the marine environment. These initiatives include awareness campaigns to encourage responsible fishing practices, the development of new technologies to reduce gear loss, and the implementation of programs to remove ghost gear from the ocean.

By addressing the issue of ghost fishing, Scotland can protect its rich marine biodiversity and preserve the economic benefits provided by its fishing industry.

  1. Carruthers, T. R., et al. (2018). “Ghost fishing in Scottish waters: a synthesis of evidence, losses and management approaches.” Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 28(5): 1145-1157.
  2. Seaman, M., et al. (2019). “The extent and impacts of lost and abandoned fishing gear in northern Scotland: a pilot study.” Marine Pollution Bulletin 146: 563-571.
  3. WWF Scotland. (2020). “The lost and abandoned fishing gear problem in Scotland: a review of the current situation.” Available at: ** lost and abandoned fishing gear problem in Scotland – June 2020 FINAL.pdf**