23 August, 2019 23 August, 2019

Ghost Fishing – A Sin of the Sea

Fishing gear—much of it made of plastic—that’s been abandoned, discarded, or lost at sea is referred to as ghost gear. These often massive clumps of nets, lines, traps, buoys, and other materials become entangled and often intrap sea life including turtles, whales, sharks, dolphins, seals, fish, and seabirds resulting, more often than not, a grim demise. Those lucky enough to escape the grip of these floating tombs are often scarred for life as a result of the gear cutting deep into their flesh.

When ghost gear is not found bobbing in the blue abyss of the open ocean it can be found smothering coral, destroying fragile reef ecosystems. A staggering 640,000 tons of gear is left in our oceans each year, without anyone profiting from the catches, they are affecting already depleted commercial fish stocks. Snagged fish die, intrapped between the twine and in turn attract scavengers which are likely to follow suit, getting caught in that same net, thus creating a vicious circle.

Ghost fishing is one of the greatest killers in our oceans, 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, predominantly plastic-based polymers, ghost gear can and will keep fishing for multiple decades, possibly even several centuries.

 

 

James Barnett, a marine vet and says that the biggest threat to marine life is discarded fishing nets, known as ghost nets. While plastic does pose a threat to marine life, he sees animals wrapped in ghost nets far more often.

“We are not yet able to determine how badly it is impacting the animals’ health. I think it is something further studies over the coming years will be able to say. Seals are very curious animals and they will investigate nets floating in the water or attached to the seabed and can get entangled in them.”

 

 

So, next time you bouncing around the beach, being boujee on a yacht or on a dive lookout for ghost gear and net those nets! Tell you what, if you do in fact remove some ghost gear, take a picture a video and send it to us with the subject of your email being Tuffy Clean Your Beach and we’ll put you in the running to win a custom new whip from MATSurfboards and some wicked gear from RYD Land and Sea. Sound good? Of course, it does!

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