Lost Arts, a project that identifies and recovers garbage in the sea caused by fishing

The protection of the oceans and the sustainability of fisheries are key challenges today. The project artesperdidos.es it is a revolutionary approach to addressing the problem of fishing gear abandoned at sea, while promoting a more sustainable and secure marine future.

Introduction to artesperdidos.es

artesperdidos.es is a digital tool that facilitates the management of fishing gear lost or abandoned at sea. This project arises from the joint effort of the General Directorate of the Coast and the Sea of ​​the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, and the action “INTEMARES-Artes perdidos”.

The platform is presented as a georeferenced viewera item repositoryand a interaction channel between different marine actors and the administration. Here, users can find manuals and demonstration videos to facilitate its use.

Objectives of the project and its impact on the Natura 2000 Network

The initiative is part of the LIFE IP INTEMARES project, with the aim of creating an effectively managed network of Natura 2000 marine spaces, with the active participation of the sectors involved.

The challenge facing fishing is twofold. On the one hand, it seeks to detect, characterize and assess the action on lost fishing gear. On the other hand, it should be considered that these fishing gears become a specific type of marine litter when they reach the bottom of the sea without control or drift, with potential damage to ecosystems, habitats and marine species.

The damages can range from abrasion, crushing, baiting, to ghost fishing, becoming dangers both for marine biodiversity and for the safety of people.

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Tools and collaborations

From 2021 to 2023, the project has worked on several tools to inventory, locate, evaluate and, if necessary, extract and manage the different lost elements that make up the extensive and varied catalog of components used for professional and recreational fishing in the different marine demarcations of Spain.

This inclusive and participatory approach has involved various actors: fishermen, the administration, the Maritime Service of the Civil Guard, Maritime Rescue, recreational and professional diving centers, insurers, conservators and expert researchers in marine biodiversity and environmental organizations.

Types of gear and the problem of marine litter

arts lost at sea

The platform lost arts deals with various types of fishing gear, including nets, hook gear, traps, and other utensils. Lost fishing gear, which becomes marine litter when it drifts or reaches the bottom of the sea uncontrolled, represents one of the main threats to marine life and ecosystems.

The consequences of this type of marine litter are multiple and serious:

  • ghost fishing: Lost or abandoned fishing gear can continue to inadvertently capture and kill marine life, a phenomenon known as ghost fishing. This problem affects both target species and other non-target marine species, including endangered species.
  • habitat degradation: Lost fishing gear can cause physical damage to marine habitats, such as coral reefs and ocean floors, by becoming entangled in or dragged across them by ocean currents.
  • ingestion and entanglement: Marine animals, including seabirds, turtles, marine mammals, and fish, can ingest or become entangled in this debris, often resulting in serious injury or death.
  • Introduction of invasive species: Lost fishing gear can facilitate the spread of invasive species, transporting organisms to regions where they would not normally be found.
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The proper management of fishing gear, including the prevention of gear loss and the safe disposal of lost gear, is therefore essential to protect the health of our oceans and the biodiversity they harbor. The platform lost arts offers an important step towards achieving these goals.

Link: artesperdidos.es