About our Global Mission
‘Ghost fishing’ is what fishing gear does when it has been lost, dumped or abandoned in the seas and oceans. Imagine a fishing net that gets snagged on a reef or a wreck and gets detached from the fishing vessel. Nets, long lines, fish traps or any man-made contraptions, designed to catch fish or marine organisms, are considered capable of ghost fishing when unattended. Without anyone profiting from the catches, they are affecting already depleted commercial fish stocks. Caught fish die and in turn attract scavengers which will get caught in that same net, thus creating a vicious circle.
The original idea for this infographic is initiated by Olive Ridley Project.
The issue of "ghost fishing" was first brought to the attention of the world at the 16th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, in April 1985. Following a debate at COFI, the FAO Secretariat published an in-depth study of the problem. "Ghost gear" refers to any fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded, and is the most harmful form of marine debris. There are many reasons why fishing gear can be lost or abandoned, including severe weather, snags beneath the surface, conflict with other gear, interaction with other vessels and, rarely, intentional discard when no other options are available.
It is estimated that 640,000 tons of fishing gear gets lost or abandoned in the seas and oceans each year. (UNEP/FAO, 2009). They are among the greatest killers in the oceans, and not only because of their numbers. Literally hundreds of kilometers of nets and lines get lost every year and due to the nature of the materials used to produce these types of gear, they can and will keep fishing for multiple decades, possibly even for several centuries.
Ghost Diving is driven by volunteer technical divers who carry out lost fishing gear removal projects and raise awareness about the ghost fishing issue on a global scale.
Physically removing nets, fishing gear and other marine debris
Since 2007, our volunteer divers have removed hundreds of tons of lost fishing nets, fishing gear and other marine debris from shipwrecks, reefs and the seabed, gaining valuable experience and at the same time perfecting our own techniques.
The power lies in making the problem visible. We therefore work with professional underwater photographers and film makers to document our actions for evaluation and presentation purposes.
Ensuring diving safety
We stick to standards & procedures to reduce risks to a minimum and will only work with divers who have adequate training and experience.
Disclaimer: It needs to be clear that this work is dangerous. Reading the website or watching the videos in NO way replaces proper training and experience. On request, we can advise you about this topic.
Recycling marine debris
Some types of marine debris such as fishing nets (plastic) and weights (lead) can be recycled. We collect these materials and are interested in cooperating with companies specialized in these processes.
Sharing knowledge and best practices
We have extensive knowledge of many types of fishing techniques, marine waste and identifying marine life. We like to share this knowledge and are willing to learn from others.
Education & presentation
We give educational presentations to (diving) clubs and during meetings, (dive) exhibitions and shows.
More detailed information can be found at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)