Abandoned fish nets

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In the Dakar region, thousands of abandoned fish nets (monofilaments and multifilaments nylon types), that are still hanging on sunken ships or lying on the sea bed continue to catch fish, even in the absence of anyone to collect it, causing a serious misuse of marine resources.

Annual large scale operation

Link Viméo video, « Abandoned fish nets »

Addressing this observation, Oceanium decided to lead a massive campaign of sea bed cleaning in 2011. The objectives were, on the one hand, to pull out as many abandoned fish nets as possible within one month, and on the other hand, to raise awareness among fishermen, public authorities, and the public at large on responsible fishing practices using cotton nets. More than 60 underwater trips resulted in the collection of more than five tons of nets by 80 volunteer divers coming from Senegal and abroad. 1350 people have been sensitised in ten sessions of cinema debates, and more than 500 people have participated in set-setal (public community cleaning events). This has continued every year since.

Plea towards the Senegalese authorities for the use of cotton made fish nets

Going beyond those results, Oceanium aims to lobby both the minister of fishing and the minister of commerce for the utilisation of cotton made fish nets. Strangely, nylon nets have been forbidden since 1998 (article 30 of the fishing code). However, a second law authorises their importation. In reality, nylon nets are found in the majority of fishing boats, with all the known consequences: abandoned nets continue to fish for no one, the sea is polluted because nylon nets need 400 to 500 years to decompose. Oceanium therefore conducts campaigns for the use of cotton nets. Because they are biodegradable and need only between six and 12 months to disappear, cotton nets present an adequate and sustainable alternative. Apart from the inconsistencies of the Senegalese authorities, the main obstacles to their use are: 1) the retail price of cotton nets, which are significantly more expensive, 2) their maintenance and, more importantly, their weight, as they are heavier than nylon nets when being pulled up into the pirogue.

Picasa gallery, « Abandoned fish nets: a disaster ! »

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