Sea Shepherd UK's Ghostnet Campaign crew were out all last weekend diving a wreck site off the East Coat of Yorkshire in our newly launched boat 'Spectre' (an Offshore 105 boat complete with stern mounted diver lift and newly upgraded electronics, sonar, and navigation) and what a great weekend haul they had!
Our 10 boat crew and divers were up very early to ensure we could get 'Spectre' through the lock gates at Grimsby's Royal Dock to then transit via the River Humber to a wreck around 1 mile from the shore at Withernsea.
On Saturday, 6 divers went down to survey and remove discarded / lost fishing gear, and we recovered several creel pots and lengths of fishing rope from the wreck site.
Further ghost fishing gear retrieval dives on Sunday completed Spectre's first active campaign weekend which was a huge learning curve having to operate in and close to such a heavily commercialised marine environment such as the Humber, but our crew and divers coped admirably with all the challenges.
Probably one of the biggest obstacles was the lack of visibility at the dive site on Sunday, with our divers having only 1 to 2 metres of visibility most of the time. Despite this, our 7 SDI ghostnet Retrieval certified divers managed to recover another 8 creel / lobster pots, bringing the total for the weekend to 18 plus several long lengths of rope.
Given the lack of visibility, it demonstrates the extent of the problem faced by wildlife in the North Sea. If our divers can find so many lost or discarded pots in such a short space of time, with almost no visibility, it's clear that there must be hundreds of thousands of lost or discarded creel pots and associated rope lines in the area.
Sea Shepherd UK would like to thank all those volunteer boat crew and divers who gave up their time to join the campaign last weekend. Without their dedication to the cause, and the commitment of our partners in the UK Ghost Gear Coalition (UKGGC), untold amounts of wildlife would continue be killed by such 'Ghost' gear.
In one of the pots lifted was a live lobster covered in her eggs which was gently cut from the pot and then released back into the sea as was all other marine life discovered in the creels.
Many thanks to all those volunteers involved!
Watch our campaign page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ghostnetcampaign for the next multi-day ghostnet wreck dive using Spectre over the Jubilee Weekend.