With commercial fishing so prevalent and profitable, it’s not surprising that fishing vessels would find ways to cut costs. Big trawlers sweep the ocean with huge nets catching as much product as possible. Because these nets are large and indiscriminate, it is not uncommon for them to get caught or snagged underwater.
Entangled nets are cut and cast off, and while no longer collecting sea food for trawlers, they continue to do what they are designed to: catch and kill animals. These are called Ghost Nets, drifting the open ocean causing death and waste.
In order to prevent these nets from causing damage for decades, they need to be collected and removed from the water.
This is a task that is easier said than done. Nets get snared on genuine or artificial reefs, shipwrecks, and other underwater topography. Even when a net is removed one season, a new net may become ensnared on the same thing the very next season.
And the nets are heavy and entangled, making them difficult to remove. It takes time, energy, and money to remove these nets that makes up 10% of all ocean debris. Usually, its not the offenders who are picking up after themselves.
Groups like The Ocean Defenders Alliance work tirelessly to remove ghost nets from the ocean local to my home, but they also focus on educating the next generation about the benefit and necessity of a clean ocean.
How can you help prevent ghost nets? Use your money to speak, and only patronize sea food restaurants or purchase seafood that is attained sustainably. Learn what “by catch” is and avoid companies that don’t bother to minimize it.
Better yet, become a volunteer and an ocean steward yourself: reduce your own waste and plastic consumption, and support companies that do the same.
I would like to recommend this beautiful site for an interactive ocean drift with a ghost net. The Ghost Below
Just a gentle reminder to all my readers out there, Wikipedia is not always your best source, and it is smart to double check the information you’ll find there. Here is a choice entry I found on Ghost Nets
“Acting as designed, the hunter uses nets to restrict movement, causing starvation, laceration and infection, and suffocation in those that need to return to the surface to breathe. So in all honesty these hunters are the actual living form of natural selection. They are used to remove the fish that are not productive to the aquatic economy, therefore reducing the strain on the other fish to support the good for nothing lazy fish that just drain the regular fish’s income by drawing unemployment and fishstamps.“-Wikipedia.