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Stopping fishing gear from harming Africa’s oceans

Have you ever heard of ALDFG? It’s the acronym for abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear – like nets, lines, and traps – that ends up in our oceans, harming marine life and polluting the environment.

The good news: a new collaborative guide is here to help tackle this problem in Africa!

Published by SST, Addressing ALDFG in Africa: A best practice guide is like a recipe book for countries in Africa to follow, showing the best ways to prevent, remove, and fix the issue of ALDFG.

Alarming facts about ALDFG:

  • It’s estimated that 46 to 86% of plastic, by mass, floating in the ocean is in the form of fishing nets.
  • Most ALDFG is made of plastic and can include items such as nets, pots, traps, ropes, fishing lines, floats, buoys and lures. Non-plastic items may include hooks, sinkers and anchors.

Here’s why this guide is important:

  1. Made for Africa: Unlike other global best practice guides, which are based on advice from developed countries, this one considers the unique challenges of African fisheries, making it more relevant and useful for local communities.
  2. Filling the information gap: There’s not enough information about ALDFG in Africa, especially how much there is and what it’s doing to the environment. This guide helps fill that gap by providing guidelines on collecting data and insights to apply best practices.
  3. Working together: This guide was created by ALDFG researchers in collaboration with fishery representatives, fishing gear manufacturers and government officials across Africa, ensuring it reflects everyone’s needs and a uniquely African understanding of the subject.

The guide discusses many topics, like:

  • What ALDFG is and how it can harm our ocean
  • What data to collect and how to collect it
  • Who is responsible for the reporting of ALDFG
  • Ways to prevent ALDFG, like marking fishing equipment and using biodegradable alternatives.
  • End-of-life options for ALDFG in Africa

This is just the beginning! The guide is a starting point for creating better solutions for African fisheries in the future.

What can you do?

  1. Learn more: Share this information with your friends and family!
  2. Spread the word: Let fishers and fisheries know about the guide and encourage them to share their inputs via email at info@sstafrica.org.za

SST would like to extend a special thank you to Peter Randall for his role in co-editing and co-authoring, Joshua Nathaniel for co-authoring, as well as all participants from our workshops and virtual meetings for the valuable discussions and contributions throughout the development of the guide.

Download the guide here.

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