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Fishing Gear

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 291136, tabled on 25 September 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate she has made of the amount of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear from UK and foreign fishing fleets around the UK coastline.

Answered on

4 October 2019

This answer is a correction from the original answer.

Abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is estimated to comprise 40 – 70% of man-made waste in the ocean measured by weight. Ascertaining the extent of the ALDFG that ends up in UK waters faces a number of challenges, including the movement of ALDFG with ocean currents. One of the best indicators is the Marine Conservation Society’s beach clean data, which indicate that fishing-related litter is amongst the ten most prevalent items recorded on UK beaches.

Defra recognises addressing ALDFG as a key priority. We are an active member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI): a pioneering and cross-cutting initiative that engages with communities around the world to collaboratively address the problem. The UK Government has provided funding to the GGGI to conduct bespoke workshops with stakeholders to raise awareness and train fishers in sustainable best practice.

Original answer

Abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is estimated to comprise 40 – 70% of man-made waste in the ocean measured by weight. Ascertaining the extent of the ALDFG that ends up in UK waters faces a number of challenges, including the movement of ALDFG with ocean currents. One of the best indicators is the Marine Conservation Society’s beach clean data, which indicate that fishing-related litter is amongst the ten most prevalent items recorded on UK beaches.