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Interdisciplinary Seminar: Carson Miller
October 29 @ 12:20 pm - 1:20 pm
An interdisciplinary seminar from UNC Marine Sciences graduate student, Carson Miller. Presented by the UNC-CH Department of Marine Sciences and UNC’s Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). The main location of this event will be in seminar room 222 at IMS in Morehead City, NC. The seminar will be streamed live to room G201 on the ground floor of Murray Hall on UNC-CH campus in Chapel Hill, NC. This event will be held on Monday, October 29th, at 12:20pm.
Seminar Title: Ghost fishing: Impacts of derelict fishing gear in submarine canyons and solutions to an invisible problem
Abstract: Ghost fishing occurs when abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear continues to capture and kill organisms past the gear’s intended use. Suspected instances of ghost fishing has increased since the 1950s due to a shift in more robust fishing materials, like nylon. While passive fishing gear (e.g. gillnets and trammel nets) is considered more environmentally friendly, attributed to less bycatch and selectivity of target species, longer soak times and lack of active monitoring makes passive gear more likely to contribute to ghost fishing. Many sources maintain the notion that ghost fishing can occur for tens if not hundreds of years after gear is lost, however research indicates nets lose their ability to effectively catch fish within weeks to a few months after being lost. Factors such as regional geology, hydrology and anthropogenic activity where the gear is lost influence how long ghost gear can effectively fish. Submarine canyons are both ecologically diverse habitats as well as hotspots for ghost fishing. Little information exists on the impacts of lost fishing gear on submarine canyon organisms, however based on literature, estimates of these impacts can be inferred from other submarine environments. Benthic and demersal fish and crustaceans are most vulnerable to ghost fishing because the weight of the captured fish make the nets sink to the ocean floor where some fish and crustaceans scavenge. Extensive estimates of ghost fishing costs a 40-vessel fleet $479,477 annually which requires utilizing management strategies of ghost fishing gear to mitigate the detrimental effects on marine life. Solutions consist of biodegradable gear, gear marking, and incentives to properly discard old gear.