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Ghost fishing

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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


Survey Results
Finding a solution for recreational fishing pollution


Recovered hooksThe Strandloper Project initiated three survey transects in the Garden Route Between Gericke's Point and the Knysna Heads. Each site attracts a different calibre of core fishermen distinguished by socio economic differences.


Gericke's Point

As a peninsula which offers shore based access to open ocean, Gericke's Point attracts primarily sports fishermen and fishermen targeting sharks.

Gear recovered from the Gericke's Point transect are mainly large hooks with 40% using steel tracers and braided line in conjunction with monofilament.

The tackle snags on the reef with the sinker while the baited hook floats free.

Some of the tackle is rigged with a small soft float attached directly on the hook shaft which further increases the buoyancy of the baited hooks.

Between Jan 2018 and June 2019, 571 lead sinkers have been recovered from 9 dives on a 100m transect. On each dive we recover a mean of 63 sinkers and 20 hooks from the 100m Transect. Approximately 25% of hooks recovered are rigged with floats on the hook shaft.

These hooks present a very real #GhostFishing threat on the reef and we have recorded 4 species of fish that have died this way at Gericke's Point.

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Paquita Wreck

Located in the Knysna Estuary, Paquita Wreck site is frequently by subsistence fishermen and part time recreational fishermen.

Most of the tackle used are small hooks and small inline sinkers. Both rods and hand lines are used.

Snagging of fishing tackle occurs when the hooks snag on Redbait (Pyura stolonifera) pods which encrust the reef.

This snagging doesn't present a ghost fishing threat as the hook is not available for fish to take.

We have only been able to conduct two survey dives at this site due to weather, tide and current conditions.

Further studies will attempt to investigate the impact of fishing debris on the invertebrate and algal life on the reef.

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Kingfisher Creek

Kingfisher Creek is located in the Sedgefield estuary and is frequented by subsistence fishermen.

Both hand lines and rods are used and recovered tackle is of small hooks and small in line sinkers.

Snagging occurs when the hooks get caught in the beds of Brown Mussels (Perna perna) which encrust the submerged reef and columns in the channel.

The estuary is a blind estuary and has been closed most of the time during the study period. Only 3 dive transects have been conducted due to poor visibility.

The fishing debris doesn't pose a ghost fishing threat.

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