Mapping of abandoned fishing gear at South Costa Brava

Since 2011 S’Agulla has been developing a detailed map of a zone that the association named ‘Els Jardins Submergits de la Selva’ (the Underwater Gardens of the Selva). It is a 16 km2 area located between the towns of Blanes and Tossa de Mar (South Costa Brava, Spain). Data was gathered by SCUBA diving between 30-70m deep (more information>>). During the survey several distortions of the ecosystemic services were observed. These distortions in the long term could lead to the exhaustion of the natural capital and of the resources that maintain it. The most important issue are the large amount of abandoned fishing gear such as nets and fishing lines. These gears can alter or even destroy the habitat for many species or have a ghost fishing activity.


Thanks to the support of LIBERA: una naturaleza sin basura (LIBERA an environment free of trash), S’Agulla has developed the first map of distribution and abundance of abandoned fishing gear at the Jardins Submergits de la Selva area.
This information is basic in order to organise pioneer programmes of removal of this gear that in short term will allow for the recuperation of the ecological functionality of the habitat and, in a longer term, will improve the recovery of fishing stocks.

Distribution map of abandoned fishing nets
Symbology of the fishing nets: 0 absence, 1 presence, 2 frequent, 3 very frequent. The facies are different types of habitat
Distribution map of abandoned fishing lines
Symbology of the fishing lines: 0 absence, 1 presence, 2 frequent, 3 very frequent. The facies are different types of habitat

The main conclusion of the present study is that the distribution of abandoned fishing gear depends of the type of user and of the distance between the fishing grounds and the port facilities. Also it evidences the need of an increased awareness of the environmental impact of the non-professional fishing activity, till present it had always been underestimated.