Picking out silent ghosts in the deep

Temple Adventures, a recreational scuba diving operator, has been conducting ghost net removal programmes since its inception in 2008, and with support from the Wildlife Trust of India since February 2018. Dive against debris “We usually find ghost nets about 12 km off the coast of Puducherry, at depths of about 50 m. They are also washed to shallower sites at a depth of about 18 m, about 5 km off the shoreline,” said Ms. Jagannathan. TRF organises ‘Dive against Debris’ sessions, where certified divers volunteer for underwater clean-ups. Similarly, a retrieval drive in March by Thiruvananthapuram-based NGO Friends of Marine Life collected 400 kg of ghost nets in 90 minutes from several places off the coast of the Kerala capital. “Identifying and removing ghost nets, especially in rocky sections and coral reefs, is a tough, labour-intensive task,” said Robert Panipilla of Friends of Marine Life. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s Indian Institute of Scuba Diving and Aquatic Sports (IISDAS) has also begun retrieving ghost nets along the coast of Sindhudurg, in collaboration with the UNDP-Global Environment Facility, training youth from coastal communities in scuba diving. Big loss “Nets covering an area of 0.2 sq km were removed from the bottom of the sea near Sindhudurg, after about 800 hours of scuba diving,” said Dr. Sarang Kulkarni, Marine Biologist and Chief Instructor, IISDAS. “Even if 1 kg of fish is tangled per year per square kilometre, it [the loss of aquatic life to ghost nets] can reach over 200 tonnes annually. To address the issue of ghost fishing nets, India needs to put an in situ action plan in place.”

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/picking-out-silent-ghosts-in-the-deep/article25146963.ece

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