Shipping urged to share information on abandoned fishing nets

Another sea pollution mapping initiative is launching with a specific focus on so called ghost nets, the thousands of square meters of abandoned fishing gear that harms marine life and renders many ships without power.

The Extraction Action Alliance (TEAA) has developed a plan to gather assistance from fellow ocean users such as crew, fishermen, sailors and divers to assist by attaching a small waterproof GPS tag so TEAA can monitor the magnitude of the problem whilst arranging collection.

Prior to the manufacture and supply of the newly developed GPS tags, TEAA plans to start a trial period of four months in the Mediterranean.

Ocean users can simply take a photograph of any fishing gear they may come across whilst at sea and upload the image to apps from geo ref organisations such as Open Litter Map and Eyesea. This will provide TEAA with both imagery and location, whilst TEAA will better understand how these nets move with tidal flows. Another part of the trial is to see how the public respond with assistance before investing heavily in the GPS tags.

TEAA’s rapid response crew will receive the information and head out directly to the reported location, with the assistance of an onboard drone.

For ocean users and vessel owners, Lloyd’s of London are cross referencing claims data with ghost nets with insurers regularly reporting of the expensive downtime ships encounter when a net gets wrapped around a ship propeller.

“A stranded vessel in a shipping lane without power to move has potential for irreversible damage through collision either with land or another vessel,” TEAA warned in a briefing.

Once the trials in the Mediterranean have been completed, a global rollout is planned in 2022.

Splash reported earlier this month how the shipping industry-backed Eyesea pollution mapping initiative had gone live following six months of testing onboard commercial ships, recreational boats, and with community volunteers.

The Eyesea app is now available on Google Play and in the Apple App stores.

The pollution mapping initiative collects and processes oceanic pollution data, now via the click of a smartphone.

The data is used to build detailed maps and charts available free of charge to governments, clean-up groups, researchers, local authorities and a range of other stakeholders, enabling them to take targeted clean-up action and make evidence-based policy decisions.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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