What is a ghost net you ask? Ghost nets are fishing nets that have been lost or deliberately left at sea. These pose a very major problem as once left they float through ocean currents or attach themselves to underwater pinnacles where they carry on fishing unattended, here they catch far more than they were designed for including endangered species like turtles and sharks. Once in the net it restricts movement leading to starvation and in those needing to return to the surface to breath; suffocation.
The problem with awareness of ghost nets is the cause is not always local. The nets can travel hundreds of kilometers on ocean currents before catching on a rocky pinnacle. This makes the problem very much a global issue that needs people to raise awareness across the globe.
Just 1 & ½ hrs off the coast of Koh Tao is a series of amazing underwater pinnacles called Sam Ran pinnacle. This amazing dive site attracts schools of snappers, barracudas, jacks, tunas, large groupers, grey reef sharks and even whale sharks. The Debris issue with this site is its location so far off Koh Tao it is regularly trawled by fishing boats. These fishing boat foul their nets on the big pinnacles and just cut them free leaving the entire site covered with old nets.
Some of the inhabitants like the small hairy red hermit crab have made use of these nets to travel across and feed from dead fish that have got caught in the net. The rest of the inhabitants constantly get caught leading to a sure death.
To kick off a massive month of Diving against Debris in September Sairee Cottage Diving will be heading out first thing in the morning on the 31st of august with a boat fill of Nitrox and eager divers for 3 big dives to free Sam Ran pinnacles of all the netting. This major undertaking involves some serious safety considerations; so all divers partaking in this event will need to be Advanced Open Water level and hold the Enriched Air Nitrox certification. Both of these PADI courses can be arranged in the days leading up to the event.
What are we going to do with the nets and ropes once removed you ask? The answer to this is simple. Sairee Cottage Diving is in the planning process of developing a buoyancy training ground and coral/fish nursery on our house reef. We will use as much as possible from what we recover to help develop the structures for this project including underwater maze’s and coral nursery platforms. The rest will be recycled.
Anyone that is going to be on Koh Tao during the time of this event please come down to Sairee Cottage Diving and have a talk to us about how you can get involved.