The effect of lost gill nets on the ecosystem is not well understood, although investigations have shown that gill nets lost in deep water can fish for years after they have been lost.
Every year nets are lost in the Norwegian gill net fisheries, and to alleviate the impact of this lost gear, the Directorate of Fisheries has organised retrieval surveys annually since 1980. All together roughly 20 000 gill nets of 30 metres standard length (approximately 560 km) have been removed from Norwegian fishing grounds during the period from 1983 to 2016.
Lost and discarded gill nets have been reported by Irish, Scottish and Norwegian fishermen as a major problem on the fishing grounds off the west of Ireland and the UK. This was highlighted recently in a report entitled «DEEPNET», produced by BIM (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) in conjunction with a number of fisheries institutes in the UK and Norway.