Ghost fishing nets are death traps for specific marine wildlife

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Divers remove ghost nets from wreck HMS Perseus

So-called “ghost nets” refers to abandoned fishing nets in large quantities on the seabed and sometimes wrapped around wrecks as is the case in this story which highlights the problem they pose to marine wildlife.

Divers remove ghost nets from wreck HMS Perseus

Divers remove ghost nets from wreck HMS Perseus. Photo: Reuters.

A volunteer organisation who call themselves Ghost Diving has been involved in removing ghost fishing nets from a World War II wreck of the island of Kefalonia, Greece. The nets were wrapped around HMS Perseus which sank off the Greek island in 1941.

They used lifting bags to remove the nets which are a hazard to the lives of the area’s loggerhead sea turtles, dolphins and monk seals I am told by the Greek website: ekathimerini.com.

The divers were Dutch and Greek and they are volunteers. Great work guys! They dived 52 m to the bottom of the sea to remove the nets that were entangled around HMS Perseus. HMS Perseus was one of the biggest submarines in World War II and the wreck is a cultural heritage site. It was detected by Greek divers in 1997.

They focused on the wreck’s front outer hull and conning tower. The cleanup lasted five days and also covered other wrecks in the area at a depth of 50 m. In all they recovered a total of 500 kg of anbandoned fishing gear.

In a nice environmental touch, the recovered nets will be recycled together with other nylon waste for the manufacture of swimwear, carpets and socks. The group cleaned up another area last year. Comment: the story is a reminder of the damage that fishing does to the environment. We must also remember that commercial fishing causes a mountain of misery for the fish because they suffocate to death. Fish are sentient beings with, it is believed, emotions and the ability to feel pain. People tend to treat them as inanimate objects.