Tackling Ghost Gear in Key Mediterranean Biodiversity Areas Through Prevention, Recovery and Recycling

Timeframe: 2023-2028
Country/Region: Mediterranean
Partner: WWF

Fishing nets and gear contribute to the rising amount of plastic polluting land and sea. Most discarded fishing gear is composed of plastic, which can take 600 years to degrade into smaller toxic microparticles if not properly managed or recycled.

Through this project, WWF aims to tackle the problem of ghost gear and end-of-life gear in six marine protected areas across Italy and Croatia to prevent further harm to marine life at these sites.

In the Mediterranean and globally, the abandonment or loss of gear in the water is contributing to marine plastic pollution and threatening several endangered marine species including birds, marine mammals, sea turtles and fish.

The project uses a wide-angle strategy towards the establishment of efficient prevention and recycling schemes for fishing gear. The WWF teams and their partners will actively identify and remove ghost gear from the sea floor, focus on the prevention of gear abandonment with gear marking tests and by setting up local systems for the reporting of lost gear.

The project also aims to establish a system of storage, transport, and recycling of retrieved and most importantly end-of-life gear, to establish sustainable waste management. Throughout the project implementation, WWF will work with local stakeholders, communities, marine protected areas managers and authorities to build sustainable solutions while boosting business opportunities.