Danger! How Ghost Fishing Chokes Marine Environment

Ghost fishing is currently causing devastation to marine environment. The development is a major cause of concern to the UN food agency, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Ghost fishing however, occurs when abandoned fishing gear dumped in the ocean traps and kills fish or other underwater life.

An underwater photographer’s chance encounter with a starving turtle led to a personal “awakening” about the dangers discarded plastic poses to sea life in the world’s oceans.

In November 2017, Saeed Rashid from the United Kingdom was taking photos during a dive on a reef in the Egyptian Red Sea when he came across a female hawksbill turtle that had swallowed a plastic bag and was, as a result, unable to eat.

The turtle probably mistook the floating plastic bag for a jellyfish which hawksbills typically eat.

It is just one example of how discarded plastic items are choking the marine ecosystem.

On World Oceans Day marked annually on June 8, the UN and its partners raised awareness about the destructive force of plastic pollution across the globe.

However, the scale of the problem has now grown so great, that it needs to be tackled urgently, for the sake of both marine life, and the people whose lives depend on it” FAO estimates that some 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or abandoned in the ocean every year, making up around one tenth of all ocean waste.

As well as killing species such as dolphins, seals and turtles, derelict gear, says the FAO, can alter the seabed and marine environment, putting boats at risk, and can wash up on the beach, becoming a danger to beach-goers and coastal species alike.

 

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