The term "ghost fishing" is used to describe the capture of marine organisms by lost or abandoned fishing gear, which frequently happens with gillnets, trammel nets and pots. The gear it is usually lost because it gets entangled in rough fishing terrains, containing corals and rocks, causing the buoy's rope to break when trying to collect the gear. The nets or pots can continue fishing for years, and the fish and crustaceans caught die and serve as bait to attract more fish and other organisms. Therefore, ghost fishing represents a serious problem in many areas of Peru, causing "hidden fishing mortality" over many years (Ganoza et al., 2014). ALDFG can catch up to 20% of the gear’s normal fishing capacity during the first 3 months in the water. Even after two years, fishing capacity can be of 6% (Interreg Baltic Sea Region, 2018). In the long term, ALDFG can turn into a potential health risk as degrading nets become micro plastics and part of the food chain. As this happens they might also release hazardous materials (such as lead from leadlines) into the environment. This microscopic litter is not collectible with present technologies, so preventing and collecting ALDFG at an early stage is the most cost-effective solution.
In the first six months of the project, we intend to have completed a feasibility study of current practices related to ALDFG to identify opportunities for its reduction as well as the fishing communities we should engage to reduce the amount of gear entering the sea by creating a business opportunity for fishers. Before the end of the first year of the project, we will have completed a scoping assessment of industrial fisheries and government collection of end-of-life fishing gear to determine the potential tonnage of gear that could be collected through them. With the information generated from this feasibility and scoping study, we will identify at least one champion from each of the main coastal communities to help promote ALDFG monitoring and reporting, developing a communication and engagement strategy before the end of the first year of the project. By September 2020, a pilot project “Net+Positiva Peru” will have been implemented, and five local fishing communities will be actively participating in the program across three regional hubs, building capacity to collect and recycle ALDFG as part of a strategy to make fishing communities part of the solution in a circular economy business model. WWF and Bureo aim to expand their discarded fishing net collection and recycling program to Peru where we expect to collect more than 200,000 pounds of fishing nets. We will also develop a plan to scale the project to other communities and regions by the completion of this project.
The regional hub will be working and collecting a large amount of gear.
The fishers will be willing to collect, clean, and recycle their nets in exchange for fair compensation defined through the feasibility study.
It is possible to locally transform the nets into a new stage like pellets or better products
Evaluate current practices, perceptions, barriers and opportunities for ALDFG reduction in identified target locations through a feasibility study. The project will engage with local stakeholders from the artisanal sector in identified target fishing coves, industry stakeholders, and other interested parties to gather information on current fishing gear disposal practices and incentives for recycling. Additionally, harbour reception facilities will be assessed to identify areas for storage and treatment of ALDFG and end-of-life fishing gear. A cost-benefit analysis will be performed, considering the creation of the necessary infrastructure to reduce and recycle ALDFG. This information will serve as an input to design a business case for ALDFG reduction by giving value to end-of-life fishing gear, creating a circular economy model. Scope fishing companies and government institutions to identify possibilities to collaborate in the donation of their end-of-life purse seine nets.
The overall goal of the project is to prevent and reduce the amount of ALDFG entering Peru’s ocean through the collection and recycling of end-of-life fishing gear, creating a circular economy that generates value for fishing communities. We propose a way forward using Bureo’s approach and lessons learned from Chile by: ● Identifying the drivers/incentives that will lead the fishing community to change practices with regards to end-of-life fishing gear; ● Assessing the existing versus needed facilities for the collection and recycling of end-of-life fishing gear; ● Determining the pathway for a sustainable business model around fishing gear recycling by estimating the annual gear turnover; and ● Recommending changes in fisheries management practices that reduce the chances of fishing gear continuing to end up at sea.
Using the information gathered in the initial assessment, four fishing communities from the above list will be selected as potential project sites. Through this project, we intend to start in one community identified as a hotspot with a pilot project that will be expanded to an additional two communities by the end of the project. This will reach a total of three communities out of the four identified, so we will propose a plan to replicate this model to the fourth and other locations by the end of the project.