Document Type



Rappahannock Community College

Publication Date

Spring 2019


Ghost fishing is when lost or discarded fishing gear is no longer under a fisherman’s control and is also known as derelict fishing gear or DFG. The most common types of derelict fishing gear to ghost fish are gill-nets and crab pots/traps, along with long-lines and trawls. Ghost fishing is a major problem in many ecosystems around the world. Like all types of marine debris, ghost fishing has a wide range of impacts on the environment, conservation of species, human health, tourism and local economies. This experiment was conducted over the course of three months in different areas of Perrin Creek in Hayes, Virginia. I found how three types of ghost fishing gear affect crab and fish populations because ghost fishing is a huge problem in a lot of ecosystems and its effects are harmful. Ghost fishing is detrimental to the health of humans, economies, the environment, and many species. There are no advantages if the crab and fish populations die from the impact of ghost fishing. The fisheries economy decreases and humans are not able to benefit from the effect. The three types of gear are nets, hooks, and pots. I predict that pots will catch the largest amount of crab and fish populations because they capture organisms and are capable of self-baiting. I expected that hooks will catch the smallest amount because they cannot latch onto organisms easily. I’ve come to the conclusion that pots did catch the most, with nets coming in second, and hooks in last. In other words, my initial hypothesis was correct based on my data results.


Jewel Mitchell won the 2nd place Spring 2019 Student Research Paper Award from the Rappahannock Community College Library for this paper.



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