NetTag will develop and test new technologies (acoustic device and robotic recovery system) to reduce lost gears and organise awareness-raising activities on marine litter for fishermen.
NetTag project aims to reduce and prevent marine litter derived from fisheries by working directly with fishers through an integrative preventive approach: i) reducing lost gear by using new technologies (acoustic system), which will help fishers to localize and recover their lost gears; and ii) promoting better practices on-board regarding management of fishing waste, through awareness actions organized by fishers associations for fishers.
NetTag activities will start with participatory workshops with fishers to assess their perception of marine litter problematic, to identify the most commonly lost gears in NW Portugal - Galicia region, and understand fishers’ concerns about marine litter as well as how marine litter compromise their economic activity. This information will be used to develop the new acoustic devices (low- cost, environmental-friendly, personal and user-friendly, miniature acoustic tags and transceivers, and automated-short-range recovery system), which will be tested and validated in laboratory and field conditions in a final demonstration event with the participation of fishers. Also, the environmental impact and harmfulness of lost gear, not only derived from ghost fishing but also as pollutant of the marine environment (e.g. source of microplastics and pollutants absorbed to the gears), will be investigated through in-situ and laboratory experiments.
Awareness activities fostering the implementation of good practices regarding vessels operational and domestic litter will be promoted by fishers for fishers, aiming to prevent marine litter derived from fisheries in the NW Iberian Peninsula. A major event entitled Clean Ocean Day will be organized, in which all fishers in that day will collect marine litter from the sea to have a snapshot of type and amount of marine litter present off NW Iberian Peninsula coast. NetTag will also include a cost-efficiency evaluation of the proposed solutions to reduce and prevent marine litter, which will help to measure the efficacy of the new technology to recover lost gears, and also of the awareness actions to implement best- practices on-board.
NetTag intends to produce new technological devices for location and recovery of fishing gear and educational material about marine litter, raise awareness of fisheries industry and other stakeholders about the urgent need to combat marine litter and increase scientific knowledge on marine litter problematic. NetTag consortium includes a multidisciplinary and international team of researchers from different scientific areas, engineering, and natural, social and economic sciences, as well as two fishers associations from Northwest Iberian Peninsula and an international fishing nets industry. With this approach, NetTag aims to guarantee engagement of fishers to adopt better practices to reduce and mostly prevent marine litter derived from fisheries.