Madam Alice from Oban July 19
Plymouth Course Easter Weekend 2019Put together by one of the students from the course
Ghost Fishing UK Eyemouth 2019GFUK kicked off the season in Eyemouth for an underwater Ghost Gear clean up.
Video: Owen Flowers
Divers: Pete Elwood, Sergej Maciuk, Stephen Elves, Owen Flowers, Scott Pendry, Martin Maple, Garry Hems, Duncan Ward, Dimitris Papakonstantis, Graham Atkinson, Ryan Mcshane.
Once on shore the material was surveyed and a fish and 2-3 inch long crabs were released. (Likely the stuff had been accumulated by the tide and had not been in the sea longer than 6 months.) The material was 90% rope and metal but the small amount of net was separated for recycling via healthy seas. The material was was added to the pile amassed by Sea the Change (https://www.seathechange.org.uk/) and Divestay (http://www.divestay.co.uk/) who were carrying out beach cleans and an underwater litter pick on the same day.
Divers split into 3 teams and proceeded to begin a systematic search of the bay in appalling 1m visibility but within 20mins located a massive tangle of rope, net and metal in 12m of water.
Team 1 and 2 located the net and attached a DSMB to mark the location and began their survey. The survey completed they began their ascent. After a surface interval the plan was for one team to attach lift bags and a second team to inflate them and complete the recovery in one lift.
This would be one of the largest single lifts of rope/net GFUK had ever attempted. The remaining divers were split between surface support and filming. The plan was executed to perfection with everyone looked awesome.A rope was attached to the recovered rope/net and it was towed a short distance away from the shore and then recovered on to the dive lift.
Returning to the harbour some local divers with a rib assisted in towing the net to shallow water at the slip. We used a car with tow hitch to drag the stuff onto shore.
Ghost Fishing UK - Eyemouth March 2019Ghost Fishing UK Dive in Eyemouth
The dive team:
Pete Elwood; Sergej maciuk ; Stephen Elves; Owen Flowers; Scotty Pendry; Martin Maple; Garry Hems; Duncan Ward; Dimitris Papakonstantis; Graham Atkinson; Ryan McShane
Skipper: Jim Easingwood; Boat: Silver Sky.
The Ghost Fishing UK team left Eyemouth Harbour at 0830, on a Healthy Seas sponsored trip abroad the Marine Quest dive boat Silver Sky.
Following a report from a diver logged via the GFUK reporting system, the team reached Weasel Loch, and short distance from Eyemouth. The eleven divers split into three teams, and proceeded to conduct a thorough survey of the area, looking for the large net close to shore, as stated in the report.
Conditions were extremely poor, and offered only 1 metre visibility to the divers. However, within twenty minutes, the teams located an enormous tangle of rope, net, and metal within 12 metres of water.
Teams 1 and 2, who had located the mass, attached a DSMB in order to mark the location, and began their survey. After completing the survey, the teams began their ascent, and proceeded to plan their next course of action. Tasks were delegated out, with one team tasked with attaching lift bags, and a second team with inflating these. This would allow the entire recovery to be completed in a single lift, making it one of the largest single lifts that GFUK has ever attempted.
The remaining dive team were split between surface support and filming. Owing to a comprehensive survey, and an astutely orchestrated plan, the entire mass was lifted in one effort, as hoped.
A rope was attached to the recovered ghost gear, where upon it was towed a short distance away from the shore, and then recovered on to the boat’s lift.
On returning to the harbour, a group of local divers with a rib offered assistance in towing the net to shallower waters at the slip. Once in the harbour, a car equipped with tow hitch was used to drag the enormous mass onto shore.
Once on shore, the tangle of rope and net material was surveyed. One small brown fish, and two juvenile spider crabs were freed and returned to the water. As judged by the small amount of by catch and marine flora and fauna upon the ghost gear, it would appear that the mass had been accumulated by the tide, and had been in the sea no longer than 6 months. The mass consisted of 90% rope and metal, and the remaining small amount of net was separated for recycling via Healthy Seas. The other material was added to a pile amassed by Sea the Change (https://www.seathechange.org.uk/) and Divestay (http://www.divestay.co.uk/) who had been carrying out beach cleans, and an underwater litter pick on the same day.
The same team of 11 divers returned to Weasel Loch aboard the Silver Sky. The objective for Sunday was to carry out a further search of the bay to ensure that the mass of rope and net recovered the previous day was the entirety of the ghost gear that had initially been reported.
With force 5, gusting force 8, winds and unsuitable spring tides, other sights were blown out for the day. Nevertheless the teams descended, upon which they found even worse conditions than the previous day, at only 0.5m visibility and a 0.75+ knot current.
The three teams spent up to 22 minutes below water searching, before abandoning the dive and returning to the surface. No further ghost gear was found.
Unsuitable conditions meant that diving operations had to stop after the one dive, and the Silver Sky returned to Eyemouth Harbour by around 2pm. No other sights were accessible.
Acknowledgements: Marine Quest (boat), Eyemouth Harbour Trust (logistics), and Healthy Seas.
Video: Owen Flowers
Editing: Owen Flowers
“Fishing For Plastic” - a documentary by Sophie DevereauA short documentary looking into the vast problem of how the marine industries contribute an estimated 600,000 - 800,000 tons of plastic to our oceans each year (United Nations Environment, 2018), and how this affects British coastlines and marine life.
We have all been shook by staggering footage and images of the ocean teeming with plastic bags, and of beaches littered with plastic bottles. But public awareness of how the marine industries add to the plastic pollution of the ocean is far less well known.
The UN Environment states that “each year more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles get caught in abandoned or lost fishing nets, long lines, fish traps and lobster pots.” (UN Environment, 2018) This lost matter, otherwise known as Ghost Gear, is nowadays made largely of synthetic and plastic material. If left in the sea, not only does this matter kill and maim marine life, but it would take an estimated 600 years to break down. And as we now know, breaking down is merely the creation of micro plastics.
Fishing for Plastic was greatly inspired by the heart-wrenching film Albatross by Chris Jordan which beautifully follows the terrible cycle of albatross feeding ocean plastic to their young; this documentary looks into where ghost gear and marine litter comes from, what happens with it once it’s lost, and where it ends up.
Speaking to experts, ocean advocates, and those recycling the retrieved materials, this documentary addresses where the problem is currently, and who is working to stop it.
By Sophie Devereau
Inspiration - Ghost Fishing UK - The first four years.www.ghostfishing.org/uk
The problem of ghost fishing gear has reached public prominence over the past five years. It is a normal part of fishing that nets, shellfish traps and other equipment becomes lost. This is not a deliberate or careless act on behalf of the fishing community, simply a reality of a very harsh environment. The problem is that the lost gear continues to catch marine life. This has an undocumented effect on the local ecosystem, but is clearly undesirable in any sense. Animals are being needlessly killed.
What we do
Ghost Fishing was set up to try to remove this lost equipment from the marine environment. It is a challenging and difficult task. Ghost gear is typically entangled in reefs and wrecks, and its removal can be complicated. The technique involves attaching bags to the gear, which the diver fills with air, making them float. The divers then cut the gear free as close to the seabed as possible. Great care is needed to ensure that the diver does not become entangled with the equipment. This involves a high degree of teamwork, coordination and discipline.
Ghost Fishing UK was initiated in 2015 at an inaugural project in Scapa Flow. The international Ghost Fishing project sent 6 delegates from the Netherlands to assist the projects inception. Six UK based divers also joined the team and these divers formed the core of new UK team. During this project, over 65 lost creels and pots were recovered, along with 1000 kg of fishing net and over a kilometer of ropes. This material was recycled into clothing, refurbished pots and creels, and the ropes were made into decorative doormats. Very little recovered gear was sent to landfill. The project also started a cooperative effort between Ghost Fishing and Heriot Watt University, particularly Dr. Joanne Porter. Dr. Porter surveyed the marine life present in the pots, creels and ropes. These data now form part of an ongoing research project in Scapa Flow.
Over the winter, Rich Walker, one of the divers on the 2015 project, gave a series of talks and meetings around the country and identified a group of UK divers that were keen to engage in the Ghost Fishing mission. These divers were invited to come to Scapa Flow in 2016. Bob Anderson of MV Halton supported the project, and World Animal Protection donated a significant portion of the funding. The divers were taught how to survey and recover ghost fishing gear and also how to perform simple marine life assessments. Representatives from Cornwall, Bristol and Norfolk joined the project, along with the existing team from 2015.
Now and the Future
The Scapa Flow project was a flagship event and Ghost Fishing UK are actively training new divers on the ‘Ghost Fishing course’ created in early 2018. Groups of regional divers are now active in responding to reports of Ghost Gear and setting up local projects to remove it.
Ghost Fishing Scapa Flow 2018 + extra footage.Ghost Fishing UK revisited Scapa Flow for the fourth year running to clean up the WW1 scuttled German High Seas fleet.
They trained five new ghost fishing divers and five new ghost fishing trainers to expand the reach of the clean up groups around the UK.
Ghost Fishing UK - Scapa Flow 2018Environmental charity Ghost Fishing UK returned to Scapa Flow, Orkney for the fourth time in 2018 to clean up the wrecks. Their mission was to clean the wrecks of 'Ghost Gear' and other litter before the centenary of the scuttling of the WW1 German High Seas fleet.
Net recovery from the PersierShort video of the Ghost Fishing UK team recovering ghost nets from the wreck of the Persier. Thanks to our partners Healthy Seas, and to Aquanauts dive centre for the boats and logistics support. Thank you to Halcyon Dive Systems for kindly supplying the lift bags.
Hillsea Point Crab RescueA team of Ghost Fishing UK divers rescued no less than 57 crabs from a lost gill net close to Plymouth. There was lots of evidence sadly of dead crabs in the net so the vicious circle in this particular area has for now, ceased.
Please donate to help us https://www.paypal.me/GhostFishingUK
HMS Landrail, Portland, Dorset UKThe Ghost Fishing UK team surveyed and removed a large trawling net from the HMS Landrail in Dorset.
Ghost Net Recovery, Plymouth April 2018Ghost Fishing UK kicked off the season in Plymouth last weekend, after several false starts due to weather. They headed to the Hopper Barge no42 and over 2 days conducted a survey underwater before recovering a huge monofilament gill net.
GFUK divers are all self funded on projects such as this. Occasionally we get a sponsor but in the main, all the gas, accommodation, fuel and boat fees are paid by the divers and the skippers are paid in full. If we cannot fill a charter then GFUK will try and raise funds to ensure that divers do not have to pay more than their standard seat. Many of us use our annual leave or the self employed simply go without a days pay to do this work. We would like to thank Paralenz for donating a camera for our survey work and this was put to good use on this project. If you like what we do, please share this short film to raise awareness of the ghost gear problem.