The Kołobrzeg Fish Producers Group: collecting derelict fishing gears (so-called ghost nets) and other marine litter

The Kołobrzeg Fish Producers Group: collecting derelict fishing gears (so-called ghost nets) and other marine litter

Fishing gear loss arises from routine fishing operations. Fishermen accidentally discard their gears during fishing, due to snagging on underwater objects, falling overboard during a storm and other random events. The scale of the problem has increased with the introduction of synthetic non-degradable materials to gear manufacturing. The need for legal provisions aimed at preventing the gear loss and minimising the impact of derelict gears on the environment has become crucial.


The EU legislation contains detailed provisions that set out the measures to be taken in the event of gear loss at sea. These provisions are part of the Council Regulation 1224/2009 of 20 November 2009 establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy.

In 2020, the revision process of the control system has still been on-going. Consultations with the stakeholders took place. The revised Regulation is awaiting adoption by the European Parliament. The amendments of the Regulation are the first step towards more effective implementation of the rules aimed at minimising the amount of derelict fishing gears. The amendments extend the obligation for the fishing vessel to be equipped with devices needed to retrieve derelict fishing gears from the sea onboard vessels below 12 metres in length. Another important amendment is to strengthen the requirements concerning the reporting of lost gears (log books).

In the framework of activities aimed at environmental protection, included in the Operational Programme Fisheries and the Sea, from 1st June to 31st August 2020, the Kołobrzeg Fish Producers Group, together with the MARE Foundation conducted a project entitled “Search and retrieval of derelict fishing gears and other marine litter”.

Nine fishing vessels participated in the project and retrieved ghost nets and litter in designed search areas (squares). Each square had the surface of 1 square mile. Each vessel conducted the retrieval in 15 such squares. In total, 3.063 kg of litter were retrieved during the project.

The aim of the project was to clean the Baltic Sea of marine litter and to increase public and other sea users' awareness of the problem of derelict fishing gear and other litter, as well as to elaborate environmentally-friendly methods of recycling or upcycling nets. The project was co-financed by the European Union from the European Fisheries and Marine Fund, in the framework of the Operational programme Fisheries and the Sea.

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