May 13, 2013


Ghost Fishing is what fishing gear does when it has been lost, dumped or abandoned. Imagine a fishing net that gets snagged on a reef of 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. And without anyone profiting from the catches, 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.

Ghost nets are among the greatest killers in our oceans, and not only because of their numbers. Literally hundreds of kilometers of nets get lost every year and due to the nature of the materials used to produce these nets they can and will keep fishing for multiple decades, possibly even for several centuries.

Cor Kuyvenhoven-2981

When caught on a reef, nets do not only catch fish, turtles, crustaceans, birds or marine mammals, they also destroy hard and soft corals, wiping out complete ecosystems while swaying in the current. If caught on wrecks nets can suffocate a wreck and thereby render  hiding places for marine life useless, or even trap them inside.

Divers are all too familiar with this phenomenon, especially in well fished areas. The founders of Ghost Fishing were confronted with ghost nets while diving the many wrecks in the Dutch North Sea. In 2009 they joined a local team of divers who started to clean those wrecks. After some years of local efforts it was time to broaden the horizon and get in touch with like-minded groups all over the world. And so the Ghost Fishing foundation was born.

Cor Kuyvenhoven-7382

As of March 2013, Ghost Fishing is collaborating with 14 teams worldwide to work on projects, set-up new projects and documents those through visual media, educate divers, inform a wide audience and raise social awareness. The Foundation exchanges solutions and best practices and maintains a steady stream of information through social media, and a website that offers extensive information and possibilities for interaction.

Collecting ghost nets is also part of a broader mission in which The Foundation works towards sustainable recycling of the nets, that will be used as raw material for new products.

The Ghost Fishing foundation was started as a non-profit organization in November 2012 and has already presented itself at the Hylkesukelus 2013, a wreck diving seminar in Helsinki, Finland, Duikvaker 2013, The Netherlands where the message was well received and many valuable contacts were made. The next event will be Baltictech Conference 2013 in Poland where the most recent material of our work will be shown.

CBruno Borelli_02

In 2013 we hope to participate in clean-up work in Krnica, Croatia, Portofino, Italy and if funding permits more plans will be set-up and executed.

As marine debris is rapidly becoming a greater problem, it is imperative to take real action as soon as possible. Ghost Fishing intends to collect funds to finance clean-ups, to sponsor gear, to train divers and to raise public awareness.

To learn more click on the logo below! Logo web


** All photos are copyrighted. Reproduction and other use is prohibited without express consent of Ghost Fishing**

Photo 1 diver with crab : Bruno Borelli
Photo 2 diver cutting nets: Cor Kuyvenhoven
Photo 3 diver holding nets: Cor Kuyvenhoven
Photo 4 diver with scooter finding nets: Bruno Borelli

6 thoughts on “Ghost Nets, among the greatest killers in our oceans…

  1. You actually make it appear really easy together with your presentation but
    I find this topic to be really one thing that I feel I might never understand.
    It sott of feels too complex and very huge for me. I am looking
    ahead to your next submit, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  2. Excellent article,
    I will be sharing this link for future education to our children!
    Great work!

  3. I am extremely grateful to you all for your dedication and hard work to rid the oceans of these abandoned nets. They have been of great concern to me for some time now and I have thought about this issue. Apart from wishing that these nets were made in such away that they would disintegrate as we do with the weaken molecule in milk containers and other plastics;I wish the some filaments of each net would have a Data Dot style marker that would identify the licensed fisher who has abandoned the net as some form of tax or fine should be collected from these wealthy huge corporations.

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