Make the use of Industrial Fishing Nets Illegal

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Fishing gear is one of the largest sources of pollution in the ocean and greatly affects marine life in ways that people don’t always realize. 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is comprised of fishing nets and other fishing gear with 700,000 tons being left in the ocean each year. A major problem caused by this is that when people leave ghost nets (a type of fishing net that when in the underwater sunlight is invisible to most marine life), in the water when not in use. These nets can be up to 2 miles long, causing detrimental environmental impacts for aquatic animals. This impacts marine life greatly as it is extremely easy for them to get caught up in the abandoned nets, preventing them from moving, meaning they can not swim, hunt, and in some cases breathe, ultimately leading to the death of 45% of all marine mammals. This can be prevented by making it illegal for international fisheries to use plastic-based fishing nets, and instead use rope fishing nets, as they only take 30-40 years to decompose, compared to the usual 600 needed to break down plastic-based nets. Though this is not a permanent solution to the problem, it would greatly reduce the unintended repercussions of industrial fishing.