On the 19th of December we discovered a fishing net stuck on one of our beloved dive sites in Bali.
The dive sites around Candi dasa is well known for its strong currents and its richness of white tip reef sharks and Mola Mola (sunfish). We were there conducting a PADI deep specialty course, the whole dive was awesome and the guests were exited. At the end of the dive when we came up to the shallow part of the dive site we were shocked by a wide fishing net laying across a big part of the dive site. This is where sharks normally rests under table coral , mainly baby sharks. Luckily I had a dive knife with me so I cut lose some smaller fishes until I bumped into a small baby white tip reef shark that was stuck in the net. We managed to free 1 white tip reef shark but it was in the end of the dive so not much time to remove the rest of the fishing net, unfortunately we also found 3 sharks that was already dead which we didn’t got to save before we started to run low on air and had to surface. Even though we had great dive until we saw the sharks trapped in the net our whole day was ruined. The positive thing is that all professionals at Crystal Divers are very carrying about marine environment so we already on the way back started to plan a “rescue mission”. Once we arrived back at Crystal we discussed with the other instructors what to do. Same day I initiated a plan and gathered any available instructor that could spare the time in a busy schedule to go back there the day after and clean up the mess and remove the fishing net.
On the next morning 20th December we went back in full force with knives, scissors, lift bags and bags to carry the nets in. So we got to remove the 70-100 meter long fisher net stuck in the middle of one of Balis prime dive sites for shark spotting. We managed to save a few more sharks that was stuck and still alive, also quite a few lobsters, banner fishes etc..
unfortunately we could not save all some were already gone, all in all we found 4 dead baby white tips and saved in total 4 that was still alive…. I took us more than 2 very long dives do be able to remove the fish net. There is one thing I won’t forget about that dive. I was working with freeing a baby white tip shark and at first it struggled by the touch of my gloved hand, I was holding the tail to keep it still while cutting the fish net line that was caught in the fins and gills. After a while it gave in and stayed still as if he had realized that I was helping him. Once he was lose It darted of but just a few meters and then turned around and swam slowly towards me, he “past” my right shoulder actually it swam in to me kind of whacking my shoulder with the tail. It was almost like a buddy giving you slap on the shoulder thanking you for the help, that will always remain in my memory.
Later we found out it had become a large argument about this fishing net since the fishermen in the area had nothing to do with this. The fishermen make more money in that area from bringing out divers to the dive site than from fishing right there, so it must have become a big deal for them to find out who did this. They later found out that it was fishers from the next village up the cost that had done this. I am not sure what exactly have happened but I think they will think twice before putting up a net again on the dive sites around Candi Dasa.
I personally want to thank everyone involved: Kwok-Zu, Luke Mac Callum , Marcel Janek , Amin Kancil.