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The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries’ annual clean-up mission


The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries conducts this annual clean-up mission to look for lost fishing equipment and has conducted clean-up operations in the most important fishing fields along the Norwegian coast since the early 1980s. Since then, more than 1,000 tonnes of equipment has been removed from the seabed. The primary focus of the annual missions is to retrieve nets and fishpots, as these tools often lead to ghost fishing. Large amounts of lines, seine, Danish seine and fisheries-related equipment such as ropes, wires and anchors are also removed. Fishermen who lose equipment at sea have a duty to search for the equipment, cf. Section 78 of the Norwegian Practice Regulations. If the equipment is not found or it is not possible to perform a search, the loss must be reported to the Norwegian Coast Guard, including information about the type, quantity and location at which the equipment was last observed. This information forms the basis for the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries’ planning of the annual clean-up missions. Somewhere between 70 and 80 percent of all equipment that is reported lost to the Norwegian Coast Guard is found. Recovered equipment is either returned to the owner or delivered for recycling or to landfill. In 2020, just over 100 tonnes of fishing equipment was recovered, including approximately 700 nets, 134 km of rope, 4,800 metres of steel wire and around 2,670 fishpots.