Hidden 'Ghost Gear' May be Fishing Long After It was Abandoned or Lost

First Posted: Sep 11, 2015 11:18 AM EDT

There's a hidden problem impacting our world's oceans: ghost gear. Scientists from around the world are now taking a closer look at this drifting gear that keeps fishing long after the original users have ceased using it.

Lost and abandoned fishing gear, known as ghost gear, poses a significant threat to the health and productivity of the oceans. Each year, new ghost gear appears in our oceans due to events such as weather, accidental loss or deliberate disposal at sea. Because fishing gear is mostly made of plastic, it can have a life expectancy of up to 600 years. Not only that, but ghost gear accumulates at a rate of 640,000 tons per year.

The National Marine Fisheries Service reported an average of 11 entangled large whales per year from 2000 to 2012 along the U.S. west coast. Once you factor in the other animals that are also hurt or killed in this fishing gear, you're dealing with a big problem.

Now, a new initiative has launched in London aimed at finding solution in order to change the amount of ghost gear in global waters. Founded by the NGO World Animal Protection, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) will attempt to solve some of the problems facing the ocean.

With that said, finding a solution may be difficult. With the amount of gear already in the water, it will be hard to figure out a way to clean up the ocean.

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