WHY DRIFT NETS SHOULD BE BANNED
Any fish that crosses the path of a drift net in the ocean may be tangled or caught in the net. Non-target individuals caught in the net are called by-catch. In 1994 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimated global by-catch rates to be as high as 27 million tons of fish discarded by fisheries each year. Many individuals of non-target species perish as by-catch in the cast of each drift net. As a result, many such species are now endangered. Species caught as by-catch include sharks, dolphins, whales, turtles, sea birds, and other marine mammals. Since nets are placed and may not be retrieved for days, air-breathing mammals that become tangled in the nets drown if they are unable to free themselves.
Drift nets lost or abandoned at sea due to storms causing strong currents, accidental loss, or purposeful discard become ghost nets. Synthetic nets are resistant to rot or breakdown, therefore ghost nets fish indefinitely in the oceans. Marine animals are easily tangled in ghost nets. The float line on the net allows it to be pushed in the current which causes ecological damage to plant life and substrate habitats as the nets drag the sea floor.