Ghost fishing. That phrase makes you think about a spectral figure sitting on the banks of a river with a glowing fishing pole. Or perhaps you imagine a team of paranormal investigators trying to lure a ghost out into the open. The truth is not so supernatural, but just as scary.
Occasionally fishing nets are cut loose, crab traps can come free from their moorings, and sometimes gear is even abandoned by fishers. All this stuff then is free to roam the ocean or Great Lakes on currents. Although there is no one on the other end, the gear still does what it is meant to do, fish.
Marine life becomes entangled.
Traps continue to trap.
Even boat propellers can become caught in this dangerous debris.
But unlike the classic horror movie villains, this menace is easily defeatable. Here at the Marine Debris Program, we support efforts to teach people about the problem, provide a place to dispose of old nets, and actually remove this ghost gear from the water. In fact, if you find yourself in Florida this spooky season, you can participate in one of these Ghost Trap Rodeo removal events, funded through a Marine Debris Program removal grant. There won’t be any lassoing of apparitions, but there will be a lot of creative efforts to make the ocean a better place.