Ghosts of Gabon: Abandoned Fishing Gear in MPAs

Latest update September 1, 2018 Started on September 1, 2018
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NGOs, government bodies, and the fishermen of Gabon are working together to collect data to describe habitats and species of the new Marine Protected Area created in delta of Ogooué river. We also plan to locate remove "ghosts nets" through the use of remotely operated underwater vehicles and citizen science.
How are sharks and rays are using the canyons of Cap Lopez? Which species of fish are using the mangroves as a nursery? Where are the ghost nets? Can we intervene?

September 1, 2018
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Expedition Background

A large network of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were created in Gabon in 2017. But what are the impacts of those MPAs? We are documenting the marine life in Cap Lopez Marine Park and Aquatic Reserve of Ogooué Delta over a long-term project with a range of approaches: catch-related data, scuba, free diving, baited video units, and underwater drones. We are documenting the behaviors and interactions of particularly sensitive species such as sharks, rays, groupers, turtles, and marine mammals. Ghost nets are a key focus. Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost and abandoned in the water. Even though fishers are no longer hauling these nets, they are still catching and killing fish, turtles, and dolphins. We hope to find and remove these lost but deadly nets in Gabon's waters. Divers and drones will be our tools.

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