MARsCI, or the Marine science Citizens Initiative, is a collaborative project between the Aow Thai Marine Ecology Center, IUCN Asia and the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources of Thailand. This project utilises citizen science to document occurences and impacts of discarded and derelict fishing gear (DFG) in Thailand.
Derelict and discarded fishing gear are a growing problem around the world. These impact a vast array of marine animals, leading to losses in abundance and diversity, and related ecosystem value and function. In particular, observations and reports of mass entanglement and smothering within coral reefs appears to be increasing. Many under-surveyed regions around the world have been shown to face challenges associated with fishing gear, however the precise scale of these impacts has been hard to assess due to extensive gaps in documentation.
Here we introduce a protocol which aims to provide guidelines for pre-trained recreational divers to contribute to data collection on the location and quantity of derelict and discarded fishing gear in Thai waters. Furthermore, this data will help evaluate the effect on benthic and pelagic flora and fauna in the region. This is done to both estimate the environmental and socio-economic impacts, as well as direct future policy decisions. To learn more, check out our article here or explore the buttons below!