With the celebration of World Oceans Day on 8 June, CLS, supported by IFREMER and CNES, is deploying fishing nets connected by satellite for the first time in the Mediterranean and in French overseas territories. This solution from space will limit plastic pollution and help fishermen in their daily activities.
In European waters, more than a third of plastic pollution comes from fishing equipment (source: International Maritime Organization).
Fishing gear: a major source of plastic pollution
Every year, 640,000 tonnes of nets, lines, life jackets and other ropes are lost or abandoned in the oceans by the fishing industry. Most of this plastic debris is in addition to the millions of tonnes of waste dumped into the sea each year. This “ghost gear” accounts for 10% of the plastic pollution in the oceans.
A Connected Ocean: an ecosystem of actors committed to sustainable seas
Environmental pollution, threat to biodiversity, and an economic loss for the fishing industry: How to fight against this scourge? As part of the European Connected Ocean initiatives to map and digitize all of our seas and its activities, CLS, supported by IFREMER and CNES, is launching a groundbreaking program to track fishing gear by satellite in partnership with a fishing association specializing in the circular economy and recycling. With more than 30 years of experience in the sustainable management of marine resources, over 35 national fisheries monitoring centers equipped and more than 15,000 active satellite terminals on fishing boats, CLS (a subsidiary of the French Space Agency and CNP) is innovating and bringing together players who want to change the world.
Tracking fishing gear: a win-win
This system has been well received by the fishing industry, which is increasingly eager to adopt environmentally friendly practices to protect the future of the oceans that sustain them. Such monitoring will make it possible to limit the loss of fishing equipment and reduce operating costs at sea. Knowing the location of their equipment will save fishermen time searching for it and thus save fuel. They will also reduce their carbon footprint, the time spent at sea, and the risks associated with operating in isolated and sometimes hostile environments.
Located, recovered, recycled plastic pollution: a virtuous circular economy
After fishing vessels, the granularity of the monitoring of fishing effort is becoming more refined and allows administrations and scientists to continuously improve the sustainable management of marine resources. Monitoring fishing gear will not only encourage the industry to adopt more environmentally friendly practices, but will also start a virtuous circle of waste collection and recycling of marine plastic debris in accordance with the guidelines of the International Maritime Organisation Convention (MARPOL Appendix V).
8 June – World Oceans Day – Connected fishing gear, a symbolic launch
“This program is a further demonstration of the value of space technologies in preserving and managing the maritime space. We are looking forward to starting the tests this week in the Mediterranean, then this summer in French overseas territories, and to moving forward in close collaboration with all the players in the fishing industry.” —Gaetan Fabritius, CLS Director of Innovation.