Ghost Fishing Campaign

Flack leads drive in European Parliament to end

‘ghost fishing’


Campaigning MEP John Flack is spearheading an initiative to stop the cruel and destructive phenomenon of “Ghost Fishing”.

The Conservative MEP for the East of England, a long-standing champion for wildlife and animal welfare, has launched a three-pronged initiative to protect our oceans from the damage and death caused by discarded fishing nets left to drift on the tides.

Fish, marine animals and coral reefs are all falling victim as fishing nets continue to trawl the seas long after fishing boats have lost or jettisoned them. The so-called “Ghost Fishing” sees nets collect and kill anything in their path as they are carried by currents.

Now Mr Flack is proposing a string of new measures to be included in the EU’s new plastic strategy.

The proposals recommend that the EU and Member States:

  • Set up port reception schemes where financial incentives are offered to fishermen for returning unwanted nets.
  • Incentivise vessels to use technology to track and retrieve their lost nets.
  • Support research to speed up the development of biodegradable nets.

As rapporteur or lead MEP, Mr Flack is leading the European Parliament Fisheries Committee’s response to the EU’s plastic strategy.

He said: “Ghost fishing is a hidden problem doing untold damage to our oceans. Fishermen do understand the value of our oceans and respect them, but their lost and discarded fishing nets continue to plague our seas.

“Not only do the abandoned fishing nets contribute to the world’s growing plastic waste problem but they indiscriminately trawl our seas of protected marine wildlife, damaging coral reefs and wasting fishing stocks.

“Creatures affected such as turtles and dolphins die prolonged and agonising deaths. It has to stop.”

“My proposals are bold and ambitious, but also offer a realistic plan to significantly reduce the damage done to our oceans by this Ghost Fishing.”