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Baltic Sea 2020 granted funds to pick up ghost nets

WWF Poland will, with funding from Baltic Sea 2020, locate and pick up lost or abandoned fishing gear. Fishing gear that has been left at sea is an unresolved and "silent" problem. The gear continues to catch fish, birds and marine mammals for many years at the sea bed which leads to degradation of the marine environment.

The project, which began in March 2011 and will run until December 2011, will set up an expert group who will assist with the location of the so-called ghost nets. During this summer two teams of divers will pick up lost gear. The project group hopes to pick up about 5 tons of lost fishing gear.

"The project will help to reduce excess fishing pressure on species that are already highly threatened by commercial fisheries such as cod and salmon, but also endangered marine mammals such as porpoises and seals. The project will also raise awareness of how important it is to gather and pick up fishing gear that has been left at sea, "said Conrad Stralka, Executive Director at Baltic Sea 2020.

The main goal of this project is to conduct activities aimed at clearing the Baltic Sea, in the Polish territorial waters from abandoned fishing gear, which continues to catch measurable quantities of fish and sea mammals. The project will also create information material that can be used by pupils, fishermen and tourists. The material will be distributed during the summer of 2011.

Finally, the project will write a report on the ecological effects of the project. The report will focus on the impact that the lost fishing gear has on the main commercial fish and mammals in the Baltic Sea. The report will be available in two versions (in Polish and English) and distributed to interested stakeholders.

 For more information, please contact:
Piotr Predki, WWF Poland, ppredki@wwf.pl
Conrad Stralka, Executive Director Baltic Sea 2020, +46 8 673 97 62, conrad.stralka@balticsea2020.org