Plastic fishing nets have become a pressing issue in our oceans due to their significant contribution to the problem of plastic pollution. These nets, also known as ghost nets, are used in commercial fishing and are accidentally left or lost in the ocean, trapping and killing marine life.
Plastic fishing nets account for a large portion of ocean plastic pollution. According to research conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ghost nets account for 10% of all marine debris. These nets are estimated to weigh over 640,000 tons and can trap and kill countless marine creatures such as fish, turtles, and whales.
One of the most significant impacts of plastic fishing nets on the ocean environment is their impact on marine wildlife. These nets can trap animals for weeks, months, or even years, leading to starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. Ghost nets not only cause suffering and cruelty to marine animals, but they also disrupt the ocean ecosystem by removing a significant number of marine species.
The other problem with plastic fishing nets is that they take a long time to break down and decompose. The nets are made of cheap, durable plastic material that can last for decades in the ocean. As they continue to float and drift with ocean currents, they can entangle other marine debris such as plastics, ghost fishing gears, and other waste materials. The accumulation of these materials can cause massive “ghost nets” that are hard to remove and can cause severe damage to the environment.
Lastly, plastic fishing nets also contribute to carbon emissions and climate change. These nets are made of non-renewable sources of fossil fuel and can further exacerbate the already dire climate crisis. This further highlights the problems that plastic fishing nets cause in our oceans.
In conclusion, plastic fishing nets pose a significant challenge for ocean conservation. These nets can cause marine wildlife deaths, disrupt ocean ecosystems, and contribute to the problem of plastic pollution and climate change. Therefore, it is essential to implement sustainable fishing practices and find alternatives to traditional synthetic fishing nets. By working together, we can reduce the impact of harmful ghost nets and preserve our oceans for future generations.