|In 2009, the Blue Line System, dedicated to the conservation of the marine environment, became aware of the ghost fishing problem and following requests from the FAO, set-up a research project, the very first of this kind in Brazil, within a partnership with the Forestry Foundation and the Institute of Fishing of Secretariat Supply of the State of São Paulo in Brazil.
The project focuses on removing abandoned or discarded fishing gear in the oceans. Within three years of operation, approximately 1 ton of lost fishing gear was recovered during six clean-up diving campaigns in Laje de Santos Marine State Park, Xixová-Japuí State Park and the Ecological Station Tupinambás.
The project goal is to identify, quantify and map the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, initially in cooperation with the conservation units promoting preventive measures in the fisheries sector. To achieve our objectives, a methodology called Blue Line System was developed, and divided into two phases:
Preventive phase (short phase): In this phase a series of actions with the industry, traders and fishermen will be implemented, to increase environmental awareness and consequent reduction of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear.
Mitigation phase (long phase): Lost fishing gear will be identified, collected from the sea and studied through scientific research. It will be moved to an appropriate destination to be discarded, to stop this material causing more damage to marine life.
With these results, the project leaders hope to quantify the negative impacts of fishing; minimize the environmental and socio-economic losses caused by the lost fishing gear and promote the action to reduce the quantity of abandoned fishing gear and to prevent the loss of more fishing gear to conserve marine biodiversity.
Thanks to a partnership with the NUTECMAR, it was possible to use side scan (scan sonar) equipment to detect lost fishing gear on the sea floor. In Xixová-Japuí State Park an area of 86 million m² could be examined.