Action 37: Dolly rope
Action Title: Investigate the prevalence and impact of dolly rope (synthetic fibre). Engage with competent authorities (such as National Authorities, EU, NEAFC etc.) and the fishing industry in order to work together to reduce the waste generated by dolly rope on a (sub) regional basis.
Lead Party(ies): Netherlands with participation of Germany and Belgium
What is the issue?
In the European beam trawl fishing industry, high value fishing nets are dragged across the seabed which subjects them to severe abrasive wear. To avoid damaging the nets, dolly ropes are attached to the cod end of the nets and, during the trawl, spread out into tiny filaments to create a protective cushion or buffer between the nets and the seabed.
Dolly rope is made of polyethylene, a plastic, which is non-biodegradable and breaks down into increasingly small fragments and represents a risk to marine life either through entanglement or ingestion.
What has OSPAR done?
A number of OSPAR countries have projects or initiatives in place to find ways of reducing marine litter from dolly rope. They are based on developing alternative materials, developing alternative net designs and improving litter management on board fishing vessels. The projects established by the Netherlands and Germany were specifically set up to complement each other and progress work under Action 37 of the RAP ML. This information has been collated in an action briefing note.
Final outputs and published reports
Dolly rope was considered as part of the above-mentioned DRFG report. More information can be found in the action briefing note.