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Impact of Ghost Fishing on Marine Life


Discuss what is goest nets? What is goest Fishing? Why this issue important to Australia oceans. What are the Acts and policies implemented in goest net Issue?

Ghost nets are one of the supreme killers in the ocean, not only these are found in a copious manner but also they have impacted over the ocean for centuries. The materials that use to formulate those nets are not high in quality so after being lost in the ocean plate these are creating a problem for the marine animals. In this report, the discussion over the environmental issue in Australia and the related problems in the coastal area of the nation has been highlighted.. There are certain environmental challenges that Australian coastal area has to face as the marine lives are the important aspect to maintain the ecology.

Ghost Net is a kind of dumped or discarded nets that have been found under the sea water as these are got snagged on a reef and get separated from the fishing craft. These are spreading all over the ocean and prime reason behind the hazardous situation for the marine animals. The commercial fish stock, grabbing those fishes one at a time is the most resourceful work that Ghost nets are doing for long. But these nets are silently hampering the ecological balance of the coastal area of Australia (Vince and Hardesty 2017). Drivers are quite habituated with these kinds of nets especially in the fished area. Most of the times these are tangled with rocks, metal sheets or plants, and fishes, turtles, birds, marine mammals are caught by those nets. The initiative is taken by the drivers to avoid this situation and a Ghost Fishing Foundation has created in 2009 to mitigate this issue for sustainable maintenance of the sea waters and marine lives. The process at first stared at the Dutch North Sea and then the initiation has taken placed by the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group ( 2013). There are certain artwork, design and effective measures taken by the government body so that ghost net effectiveness can be mitigated.

There are several contraptions created by the human. These are the intended cases where fishes are trapped due to those nets. This is an artificial process of contrivance whereas there are some cases when nets are detached from the boats or vessels and these have stayed in ocean bed and are not intentional cases rather these are some incident that quite happened in the sea bed (Rochman et al. 2016). This process is considered as Ghost fishing as too many marine animals are trapped due to that process. In the 16th session of FAO Committee on Fisheries in April 1985, the first attention over the issue of "Ghost Fishing" was highlighted and an in-depth discussion has been made for the mitigation process of ghost fishing ( 2013). Short - session ghost fishing mortality rates have been predicted by including the figure of organisms that become newly applied by a preceding inspection. There are certain sources accounted in this section for the mortality rate of the fishes and marine animals. The studying process of ALDFG with the innovative design and material can process a training program so that ghost fishing can be reduced in a proper way ( 2013). Estimation and the processing of sea level and the necessity of protecting the marine animals are the concern thinking the Australian government has done throughout the year.

Initiatives Taken by the Australian Government

The issue is important enough as the 80% of the marine animal caught by this process. Almost 300 turtles are found from the sea bed with an entangled situation and 13,000 nets are collected from the sea bed. This is the most important issue as the global balance has not sustained in that cases and that has created enough trouble for the marine life. There is some technological assistance provided by the government to improve the living condition for marine lives. Geographical origin, types of fisheries hunting, stakeholders identification all these are the probable sourcing of those ghost net (Gilman 2016). Thus, to mitigate this process of pollution in sea water effective steps or approach has been made so that Australian fisheries stay fresh in order and also that rubbish is not impacted by the marine life. The issue is important as Coastal review policy has implemented for that reason to save the environment. There are some government policies which were imposed to prevent the situation as well (Weis 2014).

Most of the Australians coastal areas have iconic status and cultural extent in their life as the coastal resources are the only way to manage the livelihood of people and their marine life. There has also been the frequent coastal investigation into managing the coastline but by revolves around the century, no solitary inclusive indication of Australian coastal administration has happened (Wilcox et al. 2013). Climate level changed scenario in 2010 by the government has impacted over the "Climate Change Risk to the Australian Coast" program and delivers the best planning and management to the coastal reforming governance ( 2017). The management program deals with the Agenda 21 (Chapter 17) which has given the blueprint for the sustainable development of marine management. 3.2 billion People existing in between 200 km of the coastline, and 10% of the Earth’s measuring area, along with that two third of the earth surface under the water and most of the people are inhabitant within the 400 km of the coastline ( 2017).

                                                                 Figure 1: Australian Coastal Management Reformation

                                                                                (Source: Created by Author)

State government involves the coastal management programs through the planning, protection of the environment, infrastructure development, transport management, industries formation and the mining industries. The impact of local government also takes some effective steps to recreate the coastal area and control can emphasize the public health and safety program. Navigation supports are used for the interstate or international shipping process ( 2017). The management and the coastal areas existence are depending on the probable policy implication that Australian government has made for the sustainable condition of the coastal areas. The purpose of this strategy is to understand the clear impact of roles and accountabilities of the State Government in delivering certain manufacturing machinery and related maintenance facilities in coastal areas? along with this state certain probable process that has protected oceans form ghost nets (Butle et al. 2013). There is some need for the better development of case in coastal protection capabilities, thus the need of the measuring data and the adequate designed facilities are ensuring the protection of those natural properties.

Policies and Strategic Plans for Conserve Marine Life and Natural Resources

Ghost nets are creating a problem for the marine animals in Australia. Taking this into consideration the Australian government has taken some important steps to mitigate this kind of condition (Groom, Griffiths and Chaloupka 2017). Since 2004, almost 13000 nets have been recorded from the underwater and thus the existences of the marine animals are under threat. The report of 2012 has shown the better planning of removing the ghost net and make coastline security a much stronger.

  • 845 ghost nets are identified and collected.
  • Coastline Petrolane has started that covers 2750 km.
  • Almost 8 ghost art workshop and public events have been done. Public awareness of the issue is formulated and executed.
  • The future direction of the program for the re-modification of the coastal area is the important government project that has been done in this applied law.
  • Posts are also furcated on the social media sites. As most of the people have the internet access thus will get know about the planning that Australian Government has done.
  • NAILSMA – I software has introduced in this process to monitor the ghost net in the ocean bed. As this is an artificial controlling process that provides effective monitoring process in the coastal line areas of the Australia ( 2017).

Australian environmental department has set policy named Arafura Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA) for the fishermen of Australia for the detailed workshop of loss of nets and that encourage those fishermen to understand the necessary precaution for avoiding ghost net. This workshop also encourages the Indonesian government too as they also allocated the same to mitigate ghost net problem ( 2017). Most of the ghost net identified by the Australian government had the highest number of animal entanglement ( 2017). 59% trawl nets, 14% gill nets and 27% other unidentified nets are accumulated by the service people ( 2017). Tangaroa Blue Source Reduction Plan is another important plan that initiated by the Australian government for the development of Tangaroa fisheries. Cape Arnhem event is to support the marine debris identification and that also help to remove the ghost nets. 

SWOT on the existing Policy



·         Minimize the effect of ghost nets to provide a sustainable atmosphere in coastal areas.

·         Ensure the benefits of coastal development and establish the coastal protection act to solve the adverse situation (Lawson et al. 2015).

·         By applying for the technological assistance ghost nets can be identified.

·         Natural and constructive assets can be conserved by applying those policies.

·         Investigate the coastal protection solution and set the laws like Marine and Harbors Acts 1981 to protect the probable consequence affecting from ghost nests (Edyvane and Penny 2017).

·         Marine lives are the important aspect of the ecology so by maintaining this policy the ecology maintenance is also formulated.

·         Adequate monitoring has done for the prevention of such situations and that impact over the marine lives by surviving them for a lot of time. 

·         Marine safety issues are highlighted and work over the matter to understand the significant role of policies and the implementation of those policies over the system.

·         Policies are not implemented in all the sections of the coastal areas.

·         Local government has taken the initiative in coastal area development; however, these are not at all resourceful if money not engaged with that project.

·         Applied prevention in the coastal areas is not implementing in some of the situations as the intermediate role of state and local governments are not so proactive in that case (Koleth 2017). 

·         Fishermen are intended to do such fish hunting programs and that effect over the policy (Kim et al. 2016). Sometimes they are doing this in an unethical way and government is not concerned with this.



·         Sustainable environment condition is the most important opportunity that Australian government has adopted if they implement those policies and work over this.

·         Marine animals can survive and do not get tangled due to ghost net, so their existence can be established (Phillips 2017).

·         Coastal land use planning is the protection planning for the coastal areas for upcoming 100 years of protection. This planning will choose the coastal location and manage the coastal development for the mitigation of ghost nets.

·         Polices are implemented in most of the states and that is the reason behind political contradiction. All the state has implemented those policies in a different way and implementation time will be a threat to the policies (Stelfox, Hudgin and Sweet 2016).

·         In several policies, certain technological devices have used for detecting those ghost nets. If those devices are falling short or being damaged due to any reason then these have become the probable threat for polices.


Therefore from the above findings, it can be concluded that Ghost net is the most contraption material that is roaming underwater and creating the curse for the marine animals. In the major fishing areas, these nets are found and there are several policies implemented by the government to mitigate the impact of ghost net. A specific Ghost Fishing Foundation has been made and that impacted over the ecosystem of Australia as the existence of marine animals is important and this need to be understood by the fishermen as well as the people of Australia.

References 2017 Coastal Management In Australia Retrieved from: [Accessed on 8th October 2017]

Butler, J.R., Gunn, R., Berry, H.L., Wagey, G.A., Hardesty, B.D. and Wilcox, C., 2013. A value chain analysis of ghost nets in the Arafura Sea: identifying trans-boundary stakeholders, intervention points and livelihood trade-offs. Journal of environmental management, 123, pp.14-25. 2017 Coastal Protection Policy for Western Australia Retrieved form: [Accessed on 8th October 2017]

Edyvane, K.S. and Penny, S.S., 2017. Trends in derelict fishing nets and fishing activity in northern Australia: Implications for trans-boundary fisheries management in the shared Arafura and Timor Seas. Fisheries Research, 188, pp.23-37.

Gilman, E., 2016. Biodegradable fishing gear: part of the solution to ghost fishing and marine pollution. Animal Conservation, 19(4), pp.320-321.

Groom, R.A., Griffiths, A.D. and Chaloupka, M., 2017. Estimating long-term trends in abundance and survival for nesting flatback turtles in Kakadu National Park, Australia. Endangered Species Research, 32, pp.203-211.

Kim, S., Kim, P., Lim, J., An, H. and Suuronen, P., 2016. Use of biodegradable driftnets to prevent ghost fishing: physical properties and fishing performance for yellow croaker. Animal Conservation, 19(4), pp.309-319.

Koleth, E.Y., 2017. Haunted borders: Temporary migration and the recalibration of racialised belonging in Australia.

Lawson, T.J., Wilcox, C., Johns, K., Dann, P. and Hardesty, B.D., 2015. Characteristics of marine debris that entangle Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) in southern Australia. Marine pollution bulletin, 98(1), pp.354-357. 2013 GHOST NETS, AMONG THE GREATEST KILLERS IN OUR OCEANS Retrieved from: [Accessed on 7th October 2013]

Phillips, C., 2017. Ghostly encounters: Dealing with ghost gear in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Geoforum, 78, pp.33-42.

Rochman, C.M., Browne, M.A., Underwood, A.J., Franeker, J.A., Thompson, R.C. and Amaral?Zettler, L.A., 2016. The ecological impacts of marine debris: unraveling the demonstrated evidence from what is perceived. Ecology, 97(2), pp.302-312.

Stelfox, M., Hudgins, J. and Sweet, M., 2016. A review of ghost gear entanglement amongst marine mammals, reptiles and elasmobranchs. Marine pollution bulletin, 111(1-2), pp.6-17.

Vince, J. and Hardesty, B.D., 2017. Plastic pollution challenges in marine and coastal environments: from local to global governance. Restoration Ecology, 25(1), pp.123-128.

Weis, J.S., 2014. Marine pollution: what everyone needs to know. What Everyone Needs To Know.

Wilcox, C., Hardesty, B.D., Sharples, R., Griffin, D.A., Lawson, T.J. and Gunn, R., 2013. Ghostnet impacts on globally threatened turtles, a spatial risk analysis for northern Australia. Conservation Letters, 6(4), pp.247-254.

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