New study sheds light on ghost net hotspots
A study funded under the Australian Government’s ghost nets initiative has identified Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula and the Northern Territory coastline south of the Gove Peninsula as key hotspots for foreign ghost nets.
The report by the CSIRO’s Marine Debris Research team is the most comprehensive collection of aerial survey data on ghost nets in the Gulf of Carpentaria to date, bringing together information from multiple surveys over the last two decades.
These observations are consistent with reports from communities and Indigenous rangers over several years. The distribution of ghost net accumulation around the Gulf’s coastline is due to the prevailing winds and currents and is linked with ongoing overseas fishing activities.
The study also detected an increase in ghost net accumulation from 2004 to 2020 across the region.
Findings from this study will support efforts to tackle rubbish drifting into the Gulf from overseas.
As part of the ghost nets initiative, the Australian Government is continuing to collect data on marine debris in the Gulf to improve our understanding of ghost nets and their sources.