Unmanned, abandoned nets deep below the ocean’s surface are ensnaring all types of marine life, and no one knows.
Thousands of miles of net find their way into the ocean each year, either thrown overboard by fishermen, or are still attached to sunken fishing boats. Most people don’t think about the havoc this can cause below the ocean’s surface, or the fact that the nets are even down there.
The constant trapping of dolphins, birds, crabs, and fish by these nets is called “ghost fishing,” and is a constantly growing problem world-wide.
In an attempt to combat ghost fishing, divers must manually cut large sections of net and drag them to the surface. One single net can weigh up to 10,000 pounds, an amount that takes dive teams many trips to remove.
While some nets deteriorate much quicker than others, “quick” is a relative term. Nets can last anywhere from 40 to 600 years underwater, trapping marine life the entire time. Divers are lucky when they come across anything trapped that is still alive, as they often find only bones remaining.
Not only do “ghost fishing” nets threaten ecosystems, they have economic backlash as well. This is a no-win situation, and one that people around the world will have to combat if we’re going to make a dent.