Miniature Acoustic Tags Being Used To Track ‘Ghost-Fishing’ Nets In The Fight Against Marine Debris

Source: Phys.org/Newcastle University

Photo: Martin Stelfox/Wikimedia Commons 

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Low-cost acoustic tags attached to fishing nets are being trialled as part of a major new project to reduce marine litter and ‘ghost fishing’.

Lost —known as ghost nets—are a major threat to life in our oceans. Choking coral reefs, damaging  and entangling fish,  mammals and seabirds, they are also a danger to boats, catching in the propellers. And they are a key source of plastic pollution, gradually breaking up and disintegrating to add to the growing volume of microplastics in the ocean.

Often lost during storms or in strong currents, the nets can travel long distances and can continue to  for years afterwards—hence the phrase ghost fishing. Because of this, locating and removing the nets is both highly desirable and a major challenge.

The new NetTag project has been set up to try to reduce and prevent  by developing  for the location and recovery of lost fishing gear based on miniature transponders—acoustic devices that pick up and automatically respond to an incoming signal. The project also aims to promote improved practices for the management of fishing waste.

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Photo: Martin Stelfox/Wikimedia Commons

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