Passive nets are not actively towed by boats; they are either placed to drift on the prevailing currents (drift netting), hung from buoys which keep them suspended between the surface and the seabed (gill nets), or staked to the seabed (set nets). These nets hang like vertical walls in the water and capture fish by the gills as they try to swim through the mesh of the net.
Habitat damage - passive nets are not towed along the seabed so are not associated with damage to marine habitat.
Efforts to reduce the instances of ghost fishing include restrictions on the use of ‘monofilament’ (or unbiodegradeable plastic) and national regulations to ensure that all netting is accounted for and not abandoned at sea. Restrictions on net size and the banning of drift netting in international waters and in some national waters has reduced the damage to marine life from these nets, yet illegal drift nets are still an issue and pose a ghost fishing threat.