Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Developing standardized protocols to assess the ecological and socio-economic effects of marine debris – especially, derelict fishing gear – is critical for the protection of natural resources and for evaluating policies and programs designed to reduce and remove debris. This document outlines a Derelict Fishing Gear Assessment Framework to guide the development and implementation of derelict gear assessment, management and mitigation. The framework draws from techniques and protocols developed to assess derelict crab traps effects in the Chesapeake Bay and on past derelict gear assessments either conducted by or known to the framework authors. However, this framework is generalized and intended to be used by any stakeholder with a need to assess the status of derelict fishing gear and its economic and ecological effects on living resources, habitats, ecosystems, and local economies. It provides a generalized pathway and processes for assessing the effects of derelict fishing gear, and is flexible and scalable so that users of the framework can make informed decisions when data are limited, and can tailor it to satisfy their specific assessment goals and objectives if a full scale assessment is not required. The framework recommends best practices for each of five key elements.


Revision 1



marine debris, derelict fishing gear

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Marine Debris Program Office of Response and Restoration National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Contract DG133E-10-CQ - 0034, Task Order 007



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