People vs. Nature, Science for Everyone, Sustainability

Fishing Gear is the Plastic Problem No One’s Talking About

We’ve heard a lot about plastic pollution over the past few years. It’s hard to be on the internet these days without seeing a picture, video, or post about the amount of plastic going into the ocean. Or maybe Google has just tailored my news feed to highlight articles about plastic pollution. Either way, why do we need another article about plastic pollution?

Well, first, it’s a major issue. And if we stop talking about it, then nothing will be done about it. Second, there are still parts of the plastic pollution conversation that aren’t highlighted enough or at all. At least in my opinion. In particular, we don’t talk enough about ghost gear.

What’s Ghost Gear?

Ghost gear is abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear. Basically, it’s fishing equipment that, for one reason or another, doesn’t get pulled back into the boat and ends up staying in the ocean.

Photo by Kindel Media on

Is It a Big Problem?

Photo by cottonbro on

Indubitably (I promise, I’m not trying to sound pretentious – I just really love that word. It makes me feel like I’m Sherlock Holmes). One common type of ghost gear is a fishing net. According to the World Wildlife Foundation, there could be anywhere from 500,00-1,000,000 abandoned ghost nets in the world’s oceans. And most of these fishing nets are made of plastic.

How Do Ghost Nets Harm the Ocean?

Great question! Watch the video below to learn more.

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