Ghost nets impacts on biodiversity
CSIRO conducted a project that explored sources, impacts and methods for amelioration of ghost nets as a threat to marine species.
Lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear is a serious externality from commercial fisheries because such marine debris may impact many species for a long period of time. This is particularly true for net-based gear that continues to fish until nets wash ashore or otherwise decompose, which may take months to years. These ‘ghost nets’ impact not only local fisheries, but also result in by-catch of threatened and protected marine species. Many of these nets are washed up on northern Australia beaches, entangling numerous marine species including turtles and dugong which are of local cultural importance. It is estimated that 95% of nets that wash ashore in Australia originate from surrounding countries, though their impact on local fauna is presumed disproportionate.
- Wilcox, C and BD Hardesty. 2016. Biodegradable nets are not a panacea, but can contribute to addressing the ghost fishing problem. Animal Conservation. 19; 322-323. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/acv.12300/pdf
- Wilcox C, G Heathcote, J Goldberg, R Gunn, D Peel and BD Hardesty 2014. Understanding the sources, drivers and impacts of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear in northern Australia. Conservation Biology. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cobi.12355/epdf
- JRA Butler, R Gunn, HL Berry, GA Wagey, BD Hardesty, C Wilcox. 2013. Value chain analysis of ghost nets in the Arafura Sea: identifying trans-boundary stakeholders, intervention points and livelihood trade-offs. Journal of Environmental Management 123: 14-25. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301479713001606
- Wilcox, C, BD Hardesty, R Sharples, DA Griffin, TJ Lawson and R Gunn. 2013. Ghost net impacts on globally threatened turtles, a spatial risk analysis for northern Australia. Conservation Letters, DOI: 10.1111/conl.12001. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/conl.12001/abstract
- Gunn, R, BD Hardesty, and J Butler 2010. Tackling ‘ghost nets’: Local solutions to a global issue in northern Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration, 11: 88-98. http://www.ghostnets.com.au/process/download/docs/8/