IMO working on practices to reduce amount of lost, abandoned, discarded fishing gear

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is working on best practices to prevent and reduce abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.

It noted that “abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear can continue to capture and kill marine animals and may cause navigational hazards – as well as contributing to the global marine litter problem”.

The IMO is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on reducing marine plastic litter from fishing vessels, including fishing gear, as part of the IMO Action Plan on the Reduction of Marine Plastic Litter. This collaboration includes IMO participation at a series of regional FAO-led workshops on best practices to prevent and reduce abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.

Participants at the second regional workshop in Bali, Indonesia from July 8th to July 11th, discussed the usefulness of developing a practical guide on the application of IMO’s MARPOL Annex V for small fishing vessels and fisheries ports. It was suggested that this could help promote port reception facilities for the delivery of fishing nets, the application of garbage management plans on small fishing ships and the use of reporting mechanisms for lost fishing gear.

The regional workshop, like the others in the series, focused largely on the practical application of the recommendations contained in the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear in the countries of the region.

The workshop was organized jointly by FAO and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). Participants represented Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor Leste, from national and regional authorities responsible for fisheries, and from ministries of transport and foreign affairs.