640,000 tons of fishing gear dumped or lost at sea worldwide per year

Ghost fishing nets

When irresponsible fishermen lose or dump their nets at sea they create “ghost fishing nets” which can kill marine wildlife by trapping the animals. There is a volunteer organisation (a charity) called Ghost Fishing UK which is dedicated to removing ghost fishing nets to release trapped marine wildlife and save them from starving to death.

Ghost fishing nets

Ghost fishing nets. Photo by Tim Sheerman-Chase/Wikimedia Commons

An example highlights this ongoing problem. Initially it is worth making the point that fishermen are supposed to mark their nets so that the owner can be identified. This protocol is ignored by many. Also it has to be said that some fishermen are acting irresponsibly by dumping their nets at sea.

Almost 100 lobsters, fish and crabs have been released from a 200-metre ghost fishing net which had been abandoned on a reef off the coast of Devon, UK. No less than 10 volunteer scuba divers released the net which was draped across two pinnacles on a reef about 20 to 30 metres below the surface.

Twenty of the animals were dead but 100 were alive according to the charity. They removed about a tonne of ghost fishing gear last year. The UN estimates that 640,000 tons of it is dumped or lost annually.

In this instance the net was at Hand Deeps which is a reef about 8 miles off Plymouth. The net was found by recreational divers who reported it allowing Ghost Fishing UK to clear it. I have written about this before in a separate story which you can read by clicking on this link if you want to. Source: The Times (thanks).