Order print   subscribe new

Campaign Begins to Clear ‘Ghost Nets’ from Mergui Archipelago

mergui cleanup 1000 2

A diver works to cut a lost fishing net caught on coral (Photo: Magnus Larsson)

A team of experienced divers from around the world has launched a campaign to clear lost and disused fishing nets – known as ghost nets – from the coral reefs in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago.

Ghost nets, or ALDFG (abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear), include fishing nets, lines and traps which are left in the ocean and become entangled in rocks and reefs, ultimately killing fish and other marine life and suffocating coral.

'In 2009, the United Nations estimated that 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear were littering the world’s oceans,' said Marcelo Guimaraes, a marine biologist working for Awei Pila resort, which hosted the expedition. 'Most of the nets are made of nylon and will not biodegrade for the next 600 years. These are the silent killers of our ocean marine life and we must do something about it.'

mergui cleanup 1000

Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear is a worldwide problem (Photo: Magnus Larsson)

From 8-11 May, the team of nine divers and five surface support crew – from as far afield as Brazil, Sweden, Lithuania and Romania – set out from Awei Pila on the island of Kyun Pila in the heart of the archipelago, which is home to some 800 islands and atolls.

Within four days, the divers recovered some 300kg of ALDFG from the surrounding reefs at depths of up to 25 meters.

The team was led by Anuar Abdullah, the founder of Ocean Quest Global, a Southeast Asia-based organization dedicated to the protection and rehabilitation of coral reefs. 'The importance of healthy coral reefs to their surrounding communities cannot be understated,' the group says in its mission statement. 'They not only provide them with food and revenue [through fisheries and tourism], but also stave off coastal erosion, thereby safeguarding land property from damage and reducing the risk of population displacement. Coral reefs are important and unique ecosystems that are self-sustaining and provide vital support for marine life.'

mergui cleanup 1000 1

The team after successfully recovering 300kg of ghost nets (Photo: Magnus Larsson)

The Awei Pila initiative follows closely on the heels of a similar ghost net clearance campaign in the Mergui Archipelago by the Myanmar Ocean Project. Guimaraes says plans are in place for both teams to cooperate in a joint effort to clear more fishing gear from the sea in September or October.

Awei Pila is one of a handful of resorts or hotels in the archipelago, which only in recent years opened to tourism. A member of the Yangon-based Memories Group and partnered with yachting charter firm Burma Boating, Awei Pila’s general manager Steffen Kroehl said that the goal of his resort is to create 'minimum impact on a pristine environment.'

 

 

Share this article...
mulipack

THREE AMAZING DIVE eBOOKS - FREE

Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection of real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize

DIVE Partners

ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below


PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...