|Location: Lake Iseo
Lake Iseo or Sebino is a lake basin in northern Italy, located in Lombardy. It covers an area of 65.3 km² and has a maximum depth of 254 meters. It is home to the largest natural lake island of Italy and the highest lake island in Europe.
The lakeside setting, as opposed to open sea basins, is a contained and enclosed environment that suffers from the impact of human activities much more than oceans do. In these inland waters one can detect a degradation that fortunately, in recent years, and thanks to the vigilance of many organizations, has been partially reduced.
In addition to pollution, indiscriminate and often illegal fishing practices have made an unwanted and harmful impact on the lake; moreover, there are many abandoned fishing nets as well as loose fishing lines and hooks that continue to kill fish unnecessarily, causing severe damage to the already depleted indigenous fauna.
A keen interest in conservation activity has led the NCD group to spontaneously undertake a series of projects aimed at monitoring and protecting the waters of the basin, the most recent of which being our removal of all the abandoned fishing lines and nets in the lake.
The reclamation project began in late 2015 after a chance meeting between the Coast Guard of Lake Sebino and NCD, which was working in collaboration with the Provincial Police to recover nets. The success of the initial recoveries prompted authorities to implement a shared protocol for the identification, location, and retrieval of the abandoned fishing nets with NCD playing an active role in each of the three phases.
The intensive underwater exploration undertaken by NCD while working on other projects has frequently led to the identification of abandoned fishing nets in the lake. Additionally, other underwater associations have also helped locate nets contributing to first phase of our project.
Once NCD has been informed of the approximate site of abandoned fishing nets, the team plans a dive in order to accurately geo-reference the location, it verifies their size and the depth of the area in which they are found, and it determines a recovery method. This allows the team to accurately plan the retrieval phase of the recovery, coordinating its activity with the Authorities.
Once the day for the recovery has been determined, based upon the weather and the availability of the Coast Guard’s and Local Police’s support, an operational briefing is held during which each step of the recovery operation is analyzed in detail and the action is planned. The Costal Guard provides logistics and support above water and the Local Police is in charge of the recovery of the fishing nets.
Given the success of our activity, our aim is to expand the program and involve other diving associations in order to ensure more widespread and detailed coverage of the territory and waters of the lake. In the near future, the NCD group will also be involved in the reclamation of two specific points of the coastline of Lake Iseo (one at a depth of 34m and the other at 65m) that are badly polluted by waste material, recovering substantial amounts of waste derived from the processing of rubber and the like.
NCD will also continue to play an active role in the Fondali Puliti Lago Iseo (Lake Iseo Clean Lakebed), with whom it has collaborated with enthusiasm in clean-up activities of the lakefront since 2013.