Pilot project: Collecting Ghost nets

Apart from eutrophication, overfishing, excessive maritime transport and chemical pollution - wasteful fishing practices constitute a considerable threat to the Baltic Sea ecosystem. Fishing gears abandoned or lost at sea are an unsolved and “silent” problem. It continuously catches fish, birds and marine mammals for many years at the seabed causing degradation of the marine environment.

Lost nets’ fishing capacity is decreasing with time from 20 percent of the usual net capacity after three months, to six percent after 27 month. Together with total allowable catch quota set at maximum sustainable yield this additional 6% (that is not included when the quotas are set) can cause important threat to stability of the fish stocks in the Baltic Sea.

The main goal of the project is to carry out activities aimed at cleaning the Baltic Sea, in the Polish territorial waters from lost nets, which continue to fish uncontrollable amounts of fish and sea mammals. Lost nets are often entangled around ship wrecks. During the first step of the project will locate potential wrecks and other spots to be cleaned during the pilot project. The action will contribute to decrease unnecessary ghost-fishing pressure to the species that are already heavily threatened by commercial activities such as cod, salmon, sturgeon, and endangered sea mammals such as harbour porpoise and seals. The main expected result of the project will be an immediate improvement of the Baltic Sea environment following the removal of ghost nets from the sea. The educational and awareness raising effect is also of great importance. Fishermen will learn how to personally contribute to the cleaning of the Baltic Sea from lost nets by taking active part in the actions at sea. 


Project status

Start: 2011-03-07
End: 2011-12-31


Project manager

Piotr Predki, WWF Poland



2011-12-13 - Report
Ecological effects on ghost nets retrieval in the Baltic Sea

2011-03-29 - Press release
BalticSea2020 granted funds to pick up ghost nets


Conrad Stralka