The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has welcomed the efforts of Australian Wildcatch Fishing, and the crew of Fishing Vessel James Kerlin who late last year located and retrieved a trawl net from Commonwealth waters off the east coast of Victoria.
The bottom trawl net, weighing 700kg and measuring over 60 metres long, appeared to have been lost or abandoned over a decade ago, and was hauled from the ocean floor during fishing operations.
Lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear, also known as ghost gear, can wreak havoc on marine life. Ghost gear can continue to catch fish, including species that are commercially targeted and threatened species, and other marine fauna.
No marine life was found in the net and it was disposed of at the East Gippsland Shire waste management facility.
Industry-led practices adopted by Australian commercial fishing operators mean that there is minimal loss of fishing gear during fishing operations. Gear loss, in addition to harming the marine environment, is expensive to replace and can impact fishing operations. If any gear is lost operators are required to report this to relevant authorities.