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Nobody likes the thought of fish and other marine animals being caught in lost fishing gear. It’s wasteful, it’s cruel to the animals, and above all it can be prevented.

Ghost Fishing in the UK has been operating now for a few years. We are all scuba divers, and we come across lost fishing gear on almost every dive that we do. It really spoils the dive when you see this marine litter, and we’ve decided to do something about it. For three days in July, we’ll be removing fishing nets from a shipwreck just off the Falmouth coast, down in Cornwall.

It’s quite a tricky undertaking. The net has wrapped itself around the wreck, and we’ll have to cut it free before we can lift it. We’ll have to attach lifting bags to the net as well, which we then inflate to allow the net to float to the surface. This normally disturbs the silt on the bottom, and we often end up working in zero visibility.

We have teamed up with Seasearch as well to collect some scientific data on the different species that are trapped in these nets. This data will go to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, who will add it to their database of the ghost gear problem and help to guide future campaigns and recovery efforts.

Once the nets do head to the surface though, they need to be recovered. Dive boats don’t normally like to have such dirty, smelly, cargo (divers are bad enough), so we need to get a very friendly boat skipper to wait on the surface and pull the nets into their boat. Not a nice job at all.

Once the net is back at the harbour, we have to package it all up onto pallets and get it picked up by the recycling company. This is hard physical work, dirty and very unpleasant.

We’re going to have to charter the net recovery boat, and pay the costs for the boat to get us to the wreck site as well. The boats have already given us some very favourable rates, but they still need most of their expenses covering.

Gary Fox at Dive Action in Cornwall has agreed to collect the nets, and Bristol No. 3 branch will be bringing their RIB as a diving platform. The Cornish Diving Centre are also doing us a great deal on our breathing gas costs too. Even with all of this help, we still need to raise £1500.

If you agree that this is a worthwhile project, please chip in and help us with the costs. Together we can make it happen!

 

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