In Spain, fishing is an activity with a high tradition and cultural development, present in many places scattered along our shores.
This is reflected in our consumption of fish and proteins coming from the sea, and makes Spain the country with the highest consumption per person/year.
Historically, our country has been a worldwide fishing power, with the largest fleet dedicated to this profession. Although this fleet has been declining gradually due to the establishment of the Exclusive Economic Zones (among other measures), the artisanal fleet that fishes along the coastline is currently composed of more than 10,000 vessels. However, like any other activity, it generates debris due to loss, breakage and wear of materials, and of fishing gear and utensils. This waste may cause direct or indirect damage to ecosystems, habitats and/or species in the short, medium or long term. Such damage can be more severe when it occurs in marine protected areas (MPAs), emblematic ecosystems (seagrass and coralligenous, ocean meadows, etc.), unique habitats, or endemic and/or threatened species.
Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that professional fishing is not the only activity that may generate this damage; the increasingly more popular recreational fishing also generates debris that may affect these ecosystems and species.
Therefore, the presence of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear, called ALDFG (Abandoned , Lost or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear), as dictated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), remains a problem whose consideration is necessary in any plan for management of the marine and coastal environment, especially in sensitive and/or protected areas.
With this initiative, which constitutes the first to be launched in Spain in general and in the Marine Demarcation of The Strait and Alboran in particular, it is intended to highlight this problem, and to initialize the characterization and assessment of the incidence of these ALDFGs that are mainly present in the infralitoral zone of Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) belonging to this zone.
Therefore, a series of actions are initiated to raise awareness, collect information and even extract some of this debris, if it affects priority species or ecosystems.
The initiative therefore supposes conducting the first study of this kind on the Spanish coasts and is intended to be a first step for subsequent experiences; therefore, and initially managed and funded by Hombre y Territorio with their own resources, this website, its content and the results obtained will be put into the hands of the relevant authorities and other similar initiatives, if they deem it necessary.