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Fishing debris

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Our survey results between January 2018 and January 2019 showed that snagged fishing tackle from recreational fishing does pose a Ghost Fishing threat to inshore reef fish.

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Recovered tackle


Ghost Fishing
Finding a solution for recreational fishing pollution


FishermenShoreline Fishing in South Africa is both a popular recreational past time and necessary subsidence activity as a means of supplementing dietary protein requirements distinguished by socio economic circumstances of the fishermen.

Equipment is determined by budget with sports and recreational shark fisherman using expensive and sophisticated tackle while subsistence fishermen use a more simple setup, often a hand line with small hooks and a single in line sinker.

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Ghost Fishing

Ghost fishing is defined as the ability for lost fishing gear to continue catching and killing fish. Most of the research on ghost fishing focuses on the impact of industrial fishing, such as trawling and long lining, when gear is lost with little attention or research placed on the impact of recreational surf fishing. Research has shown that a snagged fishing hook has the latent ability to 'ghost fish' up to 10 fish before it disintegrates. The ramifications on inshore fishing stocks is severe.

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Washed up Crab pot

Cleaning up the Reef

Our survey dives have shown that both location and tackle setup determine how fishing gear snags.

Tackle setup to target game fish and sharks snags when the sinker caught on the rocky reef..

The baited hook then floats above the seabed and reef. Some gear has been setup with floats attached to the shaft of the hook which further increases the buoyancy of the baited hook, presenting the perfect opportunity to ghost fish.


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Recovery Equipment

One our first dive we were all equipped with bags to collect recovered fishing debris in. This proved to be inefficient as the bags filled up. The sinker made diver narratively buoyant and the monofilament tended to drift out of the bags each time it was opened to put more tackle in.

We then setup some floating buckets, buoyed by an inner tube and anchored to with a line. The buckets are then left floating on the surface and divers swim to them when they need to get rid of collected debris.

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