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Robots on the Ocean Floor are Helping Rid Washington Marine Life of Fishing Net Problems

NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

Robots on the ocean floor are helping efforts to save marine wildlife from old fishing nets and other trash.

Is there a way to save marine life from the damaging fishing gear and nets that ends up on the ocean floor every year? That is the question Northwest Straits Commission (NSC) set out to answer.

NSC is a non-profit organization that focuses on preserving the ecosystem of the Washington Puget Sound. And they have come up with an idea.

Since the end of last year, sending robots to the ocean floor to do the work, the NSC has cleaned and removed over 5,000 nets that are unintentionally killing crustaceans, sea turtles, and other mammals.

Just about 640,000 tons of derelict fishing gear is added to the bottom of the ocean each year. Not only is the trash killing animals, the damage it causes is 14 times more expensive than simply regulating, monitoring, and removing the harmful materials.

 

Small tilapia fish trapped in trawl near river

This is where the robots come into play. One robot cuts the nets into manageable pieces while the other robot monitors the situation. Then they work together to attach a surface retrieval line to the pieces of nets and haul them up, one harmful chunk at a time.

Using robots on the ocean floor means getting those deep-water nets that divers physically can’t reach.

Right now, the robots are creating a healthier, safer, and cleaner Puget Sound, and who says it has to stop there? They can help create a healthier, safer, and cleaner world.

Image via subseaworldnew.com

Robots on the Ocean Floor are Helping Rid Washington Marine Life of Fishing Net Problems