Fishing Harms Everyone
What’s The Problem?
Abandoned, lost fishing gear, commonly referred to as ghost gear, is made of extremely durable plastics. Ghost gear never truly breaks down and continues to haunt the marine habitats forever. Fishing nets, pots, traps, line, and rope left behind by commercial and recreational fishers float through water indiscriminately injuring and killing animals indefinitely.
While commercial fishing wreaks havoc on massive ocean habitats, recreational fishing also creates ghost gear in community beaches, lakes, and waterways. Hobby fishing always hurts and kills animals, even “catch and release.” Fishing tournaments and hobby fishing events encourage children to kill fish in their natural environments, and normalizes the act of causing animals pain and suffering. Swimming, hiking, picnics, camping, and flying kites are all fun alternatives you can enjoy in nature without harming animals and the environment.
Who Does It Harm?
Fish, birds, turtles, sea lions, seals, sharks, manatees, and even threatened and endangered animals such as North Atlantic right whales and olive ridley turtles are harmed by fishing. Unsuspecting animals get tangled or trapped in ghost gear. Fishing lines and nets get embedded into animals’ bodies causing pain and restricted movement. Injured animals may suffocate, drown, starve, or die. Humans are also harmed by lost and discarded hooks and gear.
What Can I Do?
We can all do our part to prevent ghost gear from wreaking havoc in our oceans, lakes, and waterways. Choose not to support commercial fishing operations by not eating or purchasing fish. We can also do our part as individuals by choosing not to fish, and enjoy peaceful, harmfree activities in nature instead.
Download the Respect for Fish Day Toolkit for the Ghost Gear Factsheet, Social Media Images, and More!