GhostGuard shows ghost nets and wrecks

In the GhostGuard web tool, there is the possibility to report lost or found fishing gear. A novelty is now that also registered maritime remains, such as shipwrecks, are visible on the same map.

For anyone searching for lost fishing gear, it is a great advantage to be able to quickly and on the same map see where on the bottom there are also registered ancient remains. It reduces the risk of the drag getting caught and accidentally damaging the shipwrecks.

Many benefit from the new function

– Even those who manage trawling efforts at the county administrations benefit from the new function, as well as, of course, recreational fishermen who can avoid putting nets or other fishing gear in the wrong places, says Charlotta Stadig, investigator at the Norwegian Sea and Water Authority.

– But it is also important to remember that only known ancient remains are marked. There are also unknown remains, so caution is always important when trawling efforts are made in places where there is uncertainty about what the bottom looks like.

Cooperation between authorities

The new function in GhostGuard is the result of a close collaboration between experts at two authorities – the National Antiquities Agency and the Norwegian Sea and Water Authority – where the aim, in addition to cleaning lakes and seas from environmentally damaging ghost nets, is also to protect ancient remains in water from being destroyed.

– It feels great that we can create practical benefit by pairing our knowledge of ancient remains with the Norwegian Maritime and Water Authority’s knowledge of fishing and marine life, says Michael Frisk, investigator at the The Swedish National Heritage Board.

Joint inquiry into the problems of 2020

The National Antiquities Authority and the Norwegian Sea and Water Authority conducted a joint investigation in 2020 due to the known problem that bottom trawls and nets in Swedish sea areas risk getting stuck and damaging more than 600 known cultural remains on the seabed. Ghost nets also contribute to the emergence of microplastics that are harmful to animals and plants in the marine environment, but above all, ghost nets contribute to a great deal of suffering for fish, birds and mammals who become entangled and starve or suffocate to death.

The marine cultural heritage and the environment below the water’s surface need to be protected and are an important source of knowledge about history that future generations should also have the opportunity to take part in.