In your childhood, at any moment walking through the fish market with your father, have you ever wondered from where all these fish-sellers get so many fish? How can someone catch such a large number of them? As on the other side, you take hours to get a fish out of the water with the help of your fishing rod. Still, sometimes you are unlucky getting that single fish too. You ask your father why it is so. He makes you understand how anglers trap tons of fish by the use of different huge fishing nets in oceans and seas.
Fishing through nets is legal as well as illegal too. Country holding waters has its specific laws for Fishing. There are proper rules and regulations for fishermen which they have to follow. Divisions are made of different types of nets under the category of legal and illegal. Also, their usage in different fishing techniques determines the legality of their use.
There is more to know about Fishing with nets and their legality. To know more in detail, keep reading the coming paragraphs. It will help you to get a more clear picture of the legality of the fishing nets.
What are the Fishing Nets?
It is a net used for Fishing. The oldest tool considered for Fishing resembles a gird woven from thin fibers. Some are also called fish traps. A fishing net is used to capture more fishes in a single catch.
Nets are considered to be in use since 8300 BC or more before that. Found among the other fishing equipment in Karelian town of Antrea and made from willow. Natural materials like flex, grass, cotton, and tree fibers were used to build nets. On those nets, they used rocks as weight and wood as floaters.
Today most of the fishing nets are made of synthetic materials like nylon (made of wool or silk). This makes them lighter, cheaper, and stronger.
Major traps: Gillnets and entanglement nets, Surrounding nets, Seine nets, and Trawling nets. These types of fishing nets are available; each of them is good for their specific usage. Fishermen use some of them with the help of a ship, while others are set by hands.
When Fishing with Nets is Illegal?
Illegal Fishing takes place in many ways, like when harvesters and vessels operate in violation of the laws of the fishery. A decline in the stock of fish is the primary reason which causes a rise in illegal fishing practices. Reports showed that almost 11 to 26 million tons a year is the amount of illegal and unreported fishing catch. It is almost one-quarter of the total global catch. Illegal Fishing includes catching undersized fish, taking more fish than allowed. Angling in closed waters and Fishing during seasonal closures is also considered illegal.
The legality of Fishing:
The authorities give rules and regulations to follow. It helps to make things work in your favour while fishing.
Like there are proper standards set by them to do Fishing, and one has to follow them to make his/her Fishing legal.
You have to follow the rules about the area allowed for Fishing.
You have to check that the net you are using fulfils the standards or not, like the mesh size of the nets. Different mesh sizes allowed for different fish in different waters. In such a way, the targeted fish gets caught, and the one less than that size may slip through it.
Don’t use the forbidden techniques as they are for the safety of the environment and aquatic life, like trawling and driftnets usage.
It is unlawful to fish or cast nets in the prohibited water. Fishing in the egg-laying season of fish is also not allowed.
You must know the permission about the length of nets in a specific area where you are casting it. Don’t exceed it, as it will count in illegal Fishing.
Catch only the targeted fish for which you are there. Put back the other species as it can make them live more life and help in a balanced ecosystem.
Illegal Fishing Nets
Driftnets are very long and can drift for many kilometres in the open waters. Entangling and killing everything that comes in its way. Bycatch, most often of endangered and near to extinct species, is only one of the many reasons why driftnets are illegal.
In 2002, there was a prohibition on the use of such nets by the United Nations General Assembly. Later in 2013, the European Union banned them. Then other gears substituted these nets of Fishing in Spain. But in France, Italy, and Morocco, fishermen used the same net. They were even getting subsidies to shift to other gears.
Bottom Trawling is one of the most damaging methods of angling. Large nets are weighed down the sea bed. Collecting and trapping everything that comes in its way, from fish to plants. In catching fish through such a way, a large number of fish include the targeted as well as endangered ones. In such practice, the non-targeted fish are usually caught. But returning them to the sea, they are usually dead, which can cause them to become extinct. Besides this large part of the sea bed is compressed, which compresses the habitat for the fish living there.
Fishing nets lost or abandoned at sea during Fishing are called ghost nets. They keep on doing their job, catching and killing all kinds of unlucky marine creatures. It includes the threatened ones, too, like sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, seals, and many others.
These nets keep on aimlessly trapping fish and shellfish. And even enormous marine vertebrates are also captured by them. They die of exhaustion or suffocation in the wake of attempting to get to the surface to relax. Ghost nets are not supernatural but real, which are haunting oceans for a great time. They are among the greatest killers in oceans.
Ghost nets are in large numbers present in the sea. The report showed that hundreds of kilometers of nets get lost every year. The composition of material from which they have been made will make them remain there for centuries. It might be there for many decades, killing fish. When such nets are caught on a reef, they also destroy hard and soft corals. This destructs the complete ecosystem.
Stats About Ghost Nets
A report from the international nonprofit World Animal Protection (WAP) showed an estimate. According to that, at least 700,000 tons of new ghost gear lines, pots, and traps are dumped in the sea every year. It is the same weight as 55,000 double-decker buses. The report found that 45% of all the marine mammals have been killed or harmed by abandoned fishing gear. They were also listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species.
For example, almost 5000 derelict nets were removed from Puget Sound through retrieval programs. They were entangling over 3.5 million marine animals annually. Also, 1300 marine mammals, 25,000 birds, and 100,000 fish are impacted by this. These are shocking statistics about ghost nets and their implications on marine life. Up to 30% of all fish gets caught in ghost nets. Roughly 10% or 640,000 tons of all marine debris sums in ghost nets. It concentrates a huge share of plastic waste.
To overcome such a great loss of marine life, researchers have tried hard. They always wanted to make such fishing gears that are eco-friendly. They come with a solution in the form of Biodegradable Fishing Nets.
What are Biodegradable Fishing Nets?
Biodegradable fishing nets are made up of special material. It is a blend of 82% polybutylene succinate (PBS) and 18% polybutylene adipate-co-terephthalate (PBAT). They tend to degrade or decompose after a certain period of time underwater. In such a way, they lose their ghost fishing capacity more quickly than normal driftnets.
Advantage of Biodegradable Fishing Nets
The biodegradable netting may become a workable alternative to conventional nylon netting. This can contribute to reducing the duration of ghost fishing.
They are the same in working as an ordinary nylon net. But the main advantage is that they will dissolve in water if somehow left behind in oceans. It seems that it is the future because it is environmentally friendly and maybe a great help in reducing ghost fishing nets. Many unfortunate creatures die from ghost nets every year.
The best outcome for the marine world will be the adoption of more biodegradable nets. At the same time, fishing boats should make sure their nets are properly attached to them. Never dump old damaged nets into the water.
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