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    The problematic of marine litter from fisheries in the NW Iberian Peninsula coast

    In order to identify the magnitude of the marine litter problematic for the fishing industry , we conducted semi-structured interviews with fishers and other key players of the sector. According to fishers, marine litter mainly occurs near the coast, close to river mouths, and near fishing ports and shipping lanes. Octopus plastic pots and small pieces of nets or traps are the most frequently lost gears. In relation to the loss of fishing gears, fishers said that they could spend up to three days looking for lost gears, what can be explained for the high cost of replacing fishing gears. In fact, Portuguese and Spanish fishers invest, on average, 49 000 € in buying their fishing gears. And, they frequently lose parts of their fishing gears what for most vessels in Portugal and Spain implies annual expenses of more than 1 500 € per year, which represents 10% of their annual benefits. Additionally, fishers can spend one hour per day dealing with marine litter in their nets since marine litter can destroy part of their gear, their catch and can even put at risk the security and navigability of fishing vessels. The average direct economic impact of marine litter caught during fishing operations was estimated in 600 €/year by vessel, as fishers devote three hours by fishing journey clearing the 13 t of marine litter that every year is entangled in their fishing gears. Overall, all sectors of the fishing industry agreed that there is still a need to further engage fishers for the marine litter problematic and to have incentives in place for fishers to collect discarded fishing gear and other marine litter.


    Technical report D2.1 - Most frequently lost gears and their hotspots
    Technical report D2.2 - The problematic of marine litter as identified by fishers
    Technical report D7.1 - Economic costs of marine litter for fisheries
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    Environmental impacts of lost fishing gear

    Two hotspots of abandoned, lost, discarded fishing gears (ALDFG) in the NW Portuguese coast were monitored to assess environmental quality of pollutants potentially adsorbed (metals and PAHs) or released (microplastics) by ALDFG. Overall, low levels of metals and PAHs were found at both hotspots, showing that both water and/or sediments were not significantly polluted as other areas in NW region of Portugal. In fact, metals and PAHs levels were in most cases below detection limit and, in general, considerably lower than the established effect-low range (ERL) guidelines. No clear influence of lost fishing nets was observed since contaminants levels were identical between sites with and without (control) lost fishing nets. Both ALDFG hotspots were contaminated by microplastics. Matosinhos hotspot (submarine shipwreck) presented a higher level of microplastics contamination than Cavalalos de Fão (located in the PNLN marine protected area), mainly by fibres, however further analyses are still being done to ascertain the source of those microplastics.

    Partner(s): CIIMAR

    Technical report D4.1 - environmental impacts of lost fishing gear