The Downbelow PADI 5-Star IDC Dive Centre is located in a protected area called Tunku Abdul Rahman Park marine park where it is illegal to fish with nets or destroy anything. Its therefore very sad to stumble upon discarded fishing nets tangled within the delicate corals thus trapping and killing marine life but occasionally we do find them.
Even worse we found not only one discarded net but two humongous discarded nets in the park.
These fishing net were discarded by fishermen whose nets got snagged on the delicate corals and were unable to retrieve them so they just let them drop and smother the reef below.
Net fishing is illegal within the park but some unscrupulous fishermen will still try to gain a quick & easy yield by floating gill nets close to the productive reef, this will occasionally go wrong & they will end up losing their net.
The cycle of death is endless with corals choking thus unable to feed, fish continuously get caught in the net so become bait for other marine predators which become entangled themselves as they try to feed on the trapped animals & sadly it goes on and on!
The first net we found was a 150m long by 5m wide, it smothered a huge shallow section with beautiful reef on the North West side of popular Mamutik Island. It took 16 of us two dives to remove it completely.
The second net was found on an area called Suliman reef on the south side of Sapi Island which took our team three dives to remove.
Whenever Downbelow Marine & Wildlife discover these "ghostnets" we act by reporting the incident to the local authorities then go the extra mile by removing them altogether with our experienced GoPRO team a.s.a.p. with all costs covered by Downbelow. To date we have removed more than 100 discarded nets from our local area.
We would like to say a big "thank you" to everyone for joining in the battle against these ghostnets and proving that together we can make a difference.