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Every year around 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or discarded into the oceans

dive project & ghostnet campaign

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Ghost Nets – the indiscriminate killers of marine wildlife


Why Is so much Fishing Gear lost or discarded?

There are many reasons that fishing gear is lost or discarded at sea:


1. Entanglement with other vessels gear, snagging on wrecks or on natural topography such as reefs and rocks

2. Fishing nets and lines breaking loose or having to be cut free for vessel safety reasons

3. Risky deployment in poor sea conditions

4. Illegal discarding of unwanted fishing gear while at sea to avoid safe disposal costs back on shore


What is Neptune's Pirates UKʼs

Ghostnet Campaign?

The Captain Paul Watson Foundation UK launched the Ghostnet Campaign to combat discarded fishing gear, initially focusing on UK coastal areas.

In 2020, the campaign expanded globally, with divers already deployed in Bahrain. Utilizing experienced volunteer divers and Captain Paul Watson UK's fast boats, the campaign surveys UK waters for discarded gear using 3D scanners. Divers, on CPWF UK's RHIBs, locate and recover gear near wrecks, rocks, and intensive fishing areas, ensuring safe disposal.

Careful surveys are conducted to remove nets and pots without harming wrecks or forming marine habitats. Collaboration with maritime authorities ensures adherence to approved method statements and official permits. Lift bags are used to bring ghost gear to the surface, requiring multiple visits to completely clear entangled gear. Recovered nets are responsibly disposed of onshore or recycled by innovative companies for various products, including clothing, footwear, and kayaks.


Neptune's Pirates UK's Ghostnet Campaign joins the

'UK Ghost Gear Coalition'




To reduce the response time to reported sightings of ghost gear and to widen their geographical reach, Fathoms Free, Ghost Diving UK, NARC and Capitain Paul Watson Foundation Ghostnet Campaign have decided to form a coalition to combine their extensive resources and improve efficiency. The new coalition will be named the UK Ghost Gear Coalition.
From now on, when members of the public report ghost gear sightings on the platform of one coalition member, the data will become immediately available to all members of the UK Ghost Gear Coalition (UKGCC). This will ensure the quickest and most efficient response, minimizing travel times by using the closest resources available.
Retrieving ghost gear is demanding in terms of logistics, and the coalition aims to meet these demands in the best way possible. By utilizing divers who are most closely located to the reported sighting, response times will be dramatically reduced, and the carbon footprint will be significantly reduced.

As well as these improvements in efficiency, UKGGC members will work together to ensure safe practices and use each other’s experiences in a program of continuous development.

#Ghostnet #seashepherduk #UKGGC #GhostDiving #NARC #FathomsFree #GhostGear #marineconservation


How can I get


Captain Paul Watson Foundation UK is always looking for experienced divers to assist with this campaign. Lifting gear from the sea bed is potentially very dangerous and therefore requires a certain level of competence. Divers should have complete a minimum of 100 coldwater dives, be qualified to the standard of at least Rescue Diver and have completed SSUKʼs unique Ghostnet Retrieval Course through our partner Scuba Diving International (SDi).



If you spot ghost fishing gear around the coast of the UK, please let us know right away! Visit our Ghost Fishing Gear Report page.

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