GGGI participant, Fathoms Free, with help from World Animal Protection, have recovered a trawl net from the wreck of a vessel sunk in the UK in the 1970s. The dive was the first official dive from a new RIB for the group, who dedicate their spare time to clearing Cornwall’s coast and waters of ghost gear and have recently launched a GGGI project to address the issue.
The recovered net was securely fastened to the wreck and the divers believe that the net could have been aboard the wreck at the time it sunk. The group were supported by a vessel provided by GGGI participant, Fourth Element, and are part of a network in the area committed to working collaboratively to bring about change in how fishing gear is handled.
Chiara Vitali, Campaigns Manager and World Animal Protection UK said, “We saw lots of seals in the area near the wreck and this net would have posed a real risk to them so it’s great to see the divers were able to pull this out using the new boat.”
Rob Thompson, Founder of Fathoms Free said, “Previously we were only able to dive from the shore so it’s fantastic that we could retrieve this net with the new boat. We will now send the net off to Plastix Global to recycle it into pellets, which we then buy back to turn into items such as kayaks. The kayaks are then used to carry on the retrieval work and access places we couldn’t get to in a larger boat or on foot.”
In a recent study the Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust discovered 50 tonnes of fishing gear, lost or abandoned in Cornish waters and coast over the course of a year. Fishing gear is often unavoidably lost and enters the ocean through accident or poor conditions potentially remaining there for centuries. It can have serious implications for the welfare of marine animals, fisher safety, livelihoods and biodiversity.
Fathoms Free reuse and recycle the litter they recover on their dives. Some has been transformed into works of art such as their mascot, Casper the Cormorant, and some will be recycled to return to the sea as ocean kayaks, bodyboards and other exciting products, thus creating a circular economy and aiding further conservation efforts in the area.
If you would like to help support the GGGI project and Fathoms Free you can contact the Secretariat or please visit their JustGiving page.
See an interview with Rob from Fathoms Free here.