Removing derelict fishing gear from the deep seabed of the East Sea
The East Sea, with an average depth of 1700m, has long been subject to heavy fishing pressure, resulting in derelict fishing gear. Most derelict fishing gears, such as fishing nets, fishing ropes, and crab pots, sink to the seabed and do not degrade. This gear results in “ghost fishing,” which has adverse impacts on deep benthic habitats. Recently, the Korean government has started to remove derelict fishing gears from the deep seabed of the East Sea by bottom trawling with heavy hooks (50–80kg) and ropes. A total of 207.8 and 252.2tons of marine debris in 2009 and 2010, respectively, were removed from the seabed, most of which were derelict fishing gears. Contrary to monitoring surveys and clean-up in shallow waters, removal of marine debris from remote deep habitats is much more difficult and dangerous for removal crews.