Clearing the Ghosts out of our oceans


What is Ghost Gear?

Ghost gear is the waste left from fishing activities that now floats in our oceans and has the potential to entangle or kill the animals that live there. It is estimated in fact that for each piece of ghost gear six animals are harmed.

Animals of all sizes, from whales to the endangered Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtles, to small fish like the Brook Trout, run the risk of being entangled, injured and even killed every day.

Recently, In March 2018, shermen hauled 400 kg of shing nets out of the sea in a few locations o Kerala’s south coast.



Globally every year, more than 100,00 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are caught in ‘ghost gear’ as abandoned, lost and discarded fishing nets, lines and traps which can take up to 600 years to decompose.

The vast majority of this gear is made of plastics that take centuries to degrade. Animals caught in this incredibly durable fishing gear then suffer a prolonged and painful death, usually suffocating or starving to death over a number of months.


Indian initiative to control Ghost Gear:


Scientists at Kochi’s ­Central Institute of Fisheries Technology studied ghost nets in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. 



The level of ghost gear has increased in recent years and is likely to grow further as fishing efforts intensify, creating wide-ranging problems for the marine environment and costing governments millions of dollars in clean-up expenses.

India can emulate innovative solutions from across the world to tackle the problem of ghost gear.

More eorts to make the process more organised across the over 7,500 km of India’s coasts, as well as inland water bodies, are the need of the hour.


Way Forward:

  •     Avoid single-use plastics 
  •      Cut looped plastics

  • Pick up 5 items of trash every time you go to the beach or shore
  • Don’t release balloons 
  • Report it if you see an entangled animal or lost fishing gear

No matter where you live, we all have a responsibility to look after our precious ocean life.

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