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What to do if you find lost or discarded fishing gear

11 May 2021
Act now to record with Fish&Click!

Fish&ClickThanks to the new app Fish&Click developed by Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) as part of the INdIGO* project, everyone can now contribute to an inventory of lost fishing gear found at sea and on the shore. This action will help to reduce the impact of plastic pollution generated by the fishing sector on marine ecosystems.

How can you take part? It’s very simple: when you go for a walk along the coast or go out to sea, keep your eyes and your smartphone open: if nets, traps, ropes, lines, anchors or buoys get in your way, log on to the Fish & Click website or to the mobile App Fish & Click.

In 2018, fishing gear (nets, traps etc.) represented 27% of the plastic marine litter found on European beaches. At sea, they are responsible for what is known as ghost fishing and continue to trap marine animals when they are lost or abandoned. Another undesirable effect is that due to wave action and UV rays, they break down into microplastics that marine species can ingest. They thus affect the health of the entire food chain in the ocean.

If you discover, during your walk, dive or boating activities, stranded fishing gear on the shore or lost at sea, take two minutes to go to Fish&click. Fill in the place, date and category of the material found and photograph it, if you can, before picking it up and throwing it in the bin. All this information will be centralised in a database. The more recordings submitted by the public, the more statistically solid and usable this database will be.

From this data, a map will be created to determine the distribution of plastic marine litter generated by fishing activities and an inventory of the situation in the Channel area will be developed. The action of this citizen science activity is at the heart of the Interreg INdIGO project, led by University of Southern Brittany**, which aims to develop biodegradable fishing gear. This inventory will also make it possible to check whether the challenge of reducing plastic pollution from fishing in the study area by 2030 through the use of this innovative gear can be met.

* The Interreg INdIGO project aims to develop biodegradable fishing gear.
** Led by University of Southern Brittany, it involves both sides of the Channel: Ifremer, the Universities of Plymouth, Portsmouth, the institutes CEFAS, SMEL, and four private partners NaturePlast, Filt, IRMA and Marine South East.


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