Experimental study of ghost fishing by gillnets in Laguna Verde Valparaíso, Chile
In 2010, two experiments were carried out in order to study ghost fishing generated by lost or abandoned gillnets. The first experiment was aimed to identify and quantify the number of captured specimens in intentionally abandoned gillnet between 45 and 86 m depth, which were periodically checked up to 156 days after being abandoned. In this experiment, 912 specimens of 12 taxa were caught, mostly invertebrates such as Cancer porteri (81.6%) and Platymera gaudichaudii (9%). After the abandonment, the fish caught were only registered until day 63, while benthic species were captured during all the experiment. The second experiment consisted of checking and registering periodically the loss of height of an abandoned gillnet at 34 m depth in order to determine the reduction of the fishing capacity of the net. After 19 days of abandonment, the functional area of the net was reduced to 40% of the original area, reaching nearly zero after 155 days of abandonment. In order to estimate the potential effect of lost or abandoned gillnets in Chilean hake fisheries (Merluccius gayi gayi), an additional information-collecting process must be carried out, mainly in terms of frequency of gillnets losses.