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European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

Funding Call
Two young people in front of a mountain panorama hold an EU flag

Internationalisation of the WWF GhostDiver App to fight Abandoned, Lost or other Discarded Fishing Gear in European Seas


WWF Germany



2022-01-01 till 2023-09-30


Estonia, France, Germany, Poland

Funding Amount

295,200.00 €

Use of sonar equipment to find ghost gear near Corsica.

Project background

The project sets out to help reducing the amount of waste and marine litter in terms of lost fishing gear – so called ghost gear – in European Seas and freshwater systems. Ghost gear counts for 30 to 50 percent of marine litter and is of critical danger to the ecosystems.

Therefore, the project will implement a method developed in Germany by WWF to track ghost gear. Sonar technique is used to localize ghost gear positions and via the GhostDiver App these positions are shared with divers for verification. Based on their information retrieving the lost fishing gear can be done in the most economic and ecological way. This approach shall now be adapted to three new European countries.

Project goals and measures

The vision of the project partners is to enlarge the knowledge about ghost gears in the European Seas. To help achieve this, the partners want to make areas polluted with ghost gear visible. Therefore, the elsewhere established side scan sonar technique will be used in pilot field trips in Estonia and Poland. All identified sonar positions will be shown in the WWF GhostDiver International App. The location and visual data from the side scan of potential ghost gear positions will motivate the diving and fishing community to participate in the project.

This is how it works:

  • Project delivers sonar positions with most likely ghost gear positions
  • Volunteer divers verify sonar positions and share positions of the found ghost gear
  • Fishermen and women can access information about burdened areas through the app and contribute to the betterment of their fishing areas by clearing them from ghost gear

In this way the project motivates and enables third parties to help tackle the ghost gear problem in an effective, economic and ecological way. The adaptation of the app will provide existing knowledge about ghost gear in the different regions. Moreover, it will take into account different fishing routines, important facts for divers in their regions and offer translations into French and Polish. To raise the needed political awareness, established Marine Litter groups for different regions will be informed about progress and outcome of the project.