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Ghost Nets are the number one killer of marine animals. There are two names for lost fishing lines one is Ghost Fishing, and the other is Ghost Nets. If you want to see the destruction of this marine debris, visit google images and "animals caught in ghost nets." It is horrendous!




Ghost Fishing happens when broken traps are lost at sea. Crab pots and lobster traps are the most common. When lost, they sink and continue to capture marine animals, which of course, are trapped and then die. This is what the NOAA calls self baiting.

In Washington, an average of 14 million pounds of Dungeness Crabs are harvested per year with 90,000 to 100,000 pots set in the waters.
An estimated 10% of the crab pots are lost.  It has been reported that 300,000 “ghost” lobster pots can be lost to the seas each year in Maine alone.

NOAA also found 85,000 abandoned lobster and crab traps in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. In another heavy crab area, the Chesapeake Bay, more than 913,000 crabs were caught by derelict traps each year.

Ghost Nets are fishing lines from boats that get lost every year throughout the world. Drifting with the currents, these nets, traps, hooks, lines kill an estimated 136,000 marine animals a year, 136,000 seals, sea lions, whales, porpoises, dolphins ingest and get tangled up in the Ghost Nets.

Not So Fun Facts

  • 640,000 tons of fishing gear is estimated to be floating in our oceans.

  • 57 tons of ghost nets end up in the 139,000-square-mile Northwestern Hawaiian Islands region every year. (Estimated) NOAA research boat picked up 57 tons of fishing nets and plastic garbage in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

  • 32,000 pounds of fishing nets and 12,000 pounds of lobster and crab traps just along California’s coast have been picked up since 2002 by Captain Rex Levi.

  • 48 to 65% of Gulf of Maine humpback whales have been entangled at least once in their lifetime. This is about half of the Humpback population.

  • 70% of North Atlantic Right Whales, (critically endangered), have been entangled in ghost fishing gear.

  • 1,500 marine animals—including seals, sea lions, dolphins, sharks, 22 species of fish, and 15 species of birds—were found dead among 870 derelict nets discovered in the Puget Sound over the course of one year.

  • 1000+ Traps rescued from the Bay of Fundy since 2008

  • Unfortunately, Fishing Lines would take hundreds of years to bio-degrade.

The Good News:

  • Fishing Gear can be recycled.

  • Shoes, carpet, eyeglasses, skateboards, surfboard, art, clothing, furniture, prosthetics and even energy.

  • Most of the fishing nets and pots are found in Mission Beach during winter storms. Approximately 10 Traps will wash up a year in South Mission, but hundreds of pounds of fishing line are washed ashore.

  • Most of the fishing line, unless cut out of the kelp, is pushed back into the ocean.

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