Toolkit: Derelict Fishing Gear Retrieval, Project participants, Participants in DFG retrieval

See also: Involvement of fishermen | Port authorities | Waste management and recycling companies

DFG retrieval activities will require the skills of fishermen and/or divers to retrieve the fishing gear. The potential roles and activities of fishermen and divers are discussed in more detail in Implementing your project.

To establish the skills you require for the retrieval operations that you intend to conduct under your project, you will need to establish the characteristics of the area to be cleaned (depth and topography of the seafloor, size of the area etc.) and the gear to be retrieved (types, amounts etc.).  In addition, to decide on the number of participants, you will need to establish the required number of days at sea and take into account the budget you have available.

All participants who assist in DFG retrieval should be provided with a contract, the exact terms of which need to be discussed and agreed with each participant. Every contract should include at least a precise description of their tasks and guidance on how to carry them out and details of any payment. This guidance could come from DFG retrieval guidelines that you may develop under your project and attach to the contract. The guidelines should include the stringent safety and environmental protection requirements that participants have to meet. Some of these requirements will be legal, and will have been adopted by Member States on the basis of the relevant European Directives and/or on the basis of national experience.

Proper insurance coverage for all participants in the DFG retrieval operations should be foreseen in your project budget. It is recommended to relate payment to all organisations and individuals that retrieve DFG on your behalf to the time they work, rather than to the amount of gear recovered. 


The removal of DFG requires specific skill sets and experience from the fishermen – especially when bulky or heavy nets are retrieved.  It is recommended to work with active fishermen that have good knowledge of techniques and the targeted areas (i.e. of the level of activity of the various fisheries in these areas, now and in the past).

The crew of a participating vessel may include:


Divers might be used to support retrieval operations, depending on the depth and the topography of the seafloor. Working with divers can help to minimise the impact of DFG removal on the marine environment and to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. A diving team could be composed of: 

DFG retrieval requires a thorough understanding of the safety and environmental issues of working with DFG. Only qualified divers with appropriate experience and training should attempt DFG retrieval.