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India and Bangladesh: Waste fishing gear threatens Ganges wildlife November 25,2020   |  Source: Eurek Alert

Waste fishing gear in the River Ganges poses a threat to wildlife including otters, turtles and dolphins, new research shows. The study says entanglement in fishing gear could harm species including the critically endangered three-striped roofed turtle and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. Surveys along the length of the river, from the mouth in Bangladesh to the Himalayas in India, show levels of waste fishing gear are highest near to the sea. Fishing nets - all made of plastic - were the most common type of gear found.

Interviews with local fishers revealed high rates of fishing equipment being discarded in the river - driven by short gear lifespans and lack of appropriate disposal systems. The study, led by researchers from the University of Exeter, with an international team including researchers from India and Bangladesh, was conducted as part of the National Geographic Society's "Sea to Source: Ganges" expedition. "The Ganges River supports some of the world's largest inland fisheries, but no research has been done to assess plastic pollution from this industry, and its impacts on wildlife," said Dr Sarah Nelms, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter's Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

"Ingesting plastic can harm wildlife, but our threat assessment focussed

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)