National TRAP Program

The Problem

There are many organizations and numerous excellent but disconnected efforts attempting to address the issue of derelict fishing gear within the nation’s waters. These efforts are conducted by various entities with differing levels of data collection, monitoring, and impact analyses. To address the issues surrounding derelict fishing gear, as well as the complexities involved in reducing gear loss and the subsequent ecological and economic impacts, it is critical that these efforts are coordinated and standardized at a national scale.

Studies have shown that the removal of lost or abandoned gear can have a significant positive impact on the ecology of marine systems and on the economies of communities dependent on various fisheries. There is a need for coordinated tracking, monitoring, and assessment of these removal efforts in a manner that provides consistency in data collection and data analysis.

Developing standardized protocols to assess and mitigate the ecological and socio-economic effects of derelict traps is critical for the protection of NOAA Trust Resources (living marine resources and their habitats) and local economies.