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A Personal Perspective on the Ghostnet Campaign

Having been part of the Ghostnet Campaign since its inception, the journey has been nothing short of remarkable. As one of the Campaign Coordinators for the Captain Paul Watson Foundation UK, I've witnessed the evolution of our efforts to combat the silent threat of Abandoned, Lost, or Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) in the North Sea. In sharing my perspective, I hope to convey both our progress and the pressing need for continued support to expand our impact.


Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net

Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net

Reflecting on the years spent on the Ghostnet Campaign, it's heartening to see how the team has grown from strength to strength. The early days of the campaign were spent finding our feet, surveying areas of the Irish Sea off North Wales in rigid inflatable boats in all conditions and recovering small amounts of Ghost Gear. The campaign has now transformed into a well-oiled, highly efficient operation and that is thanks to the dedication of the volunteers who regularly make the trip to our new base in Grimsby.




As a skipper and coordinator on the campaign, I am continually appalled by the extent of ghost gear beneath the waves. Abandoned nets, lines, and pots pose an immediate danger to marine life, entangling creatures in a web of death. Witnessing firsthand the impact on our oceans fuels my determination to tackle this issue head-on. We routinely recover ghost gear with wildlife entrapped, often still alive but destined for a slow death.


While our campaign has achieved remarkable milestones, the battle against ghost gear is far from over. Recovering enough gear on every 2023 outing to fill Spectre, our flagship boat, was a significant victory, but it only emphasizes the vast scale of the problem.


"The waters around the UK are teeming with ghost gear, indiscriminately inflicting harm on marine life. Our success last year has certainly motivated me, but it also serves as a stark reminder of the urgency to do more."

Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net

The primary objective for 2024 is to surpass the amount of fishing gear recovered in the previous year. ​By involving more volunteers and conducting more dives, the team hopes to make a greater impact in removing abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear. We have established a programme of continuous improvement for our team and our first training in 2024 has already happened in January.


Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net
"There's a collective dream within the Ghostnet team – the dream of a larger boat.

A bigger boat means more than just additional deck space; it will allow us to travel farther, stay at sea longer, and carry a greater haul of ghost gear on deck. All of which serves to increase our efficiency and enhance our impact.


Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net spectre


"To realise this dream, we need support. Securing funding for a larger boat is not just about enhancing our campaign; it’s about helping us move forward in our mission to protect marine life and preserve our oceans. Every contribution, whether through awareness or financial support, brings us closer to making this dream a reality."
Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net

As I reflect on my time with the Ghostnet Campaign, I am both proud of our achievements and acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead. The waters we navigate are filled with remnants of human activity, but with determination and support, we can continue to make a difference. Together, we can expand our reach, recover more ghost gear, and contribute to the larger movement for a healthier, more sustainable ocean. The journey continues, and with your support, the Ghostnet Campaign will chart a course toward a brighter future for our oceans.


Mark Muschamp, Coordinator

Neptune's Pirates UK (AKA Captain Paul Watson Foundation UK)



Dive operation captain paul watson foundation neptune's pirate uk ghost net mark muschamp





Bio: Mark has been a volunteer for 10 years and has taken part in campaigns in Japan, Faroe Islands and Scotland, but his true passion lies with the Ghostnet Campaign and

ridding the oceans of fishing debris. He is currently Campaign Coordinator and Skipper on

MV Spectre, Ghostnet Campaign’s vessel which operates out of Grimsby, North Lincs.

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Guest
Feb 28
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Fantastic effort - well done to all involved!

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Guest
Feb 27
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I've just made my donations. Best of luck!

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