Sunday, April 1, 2012

Do you know what a ghost net is?

Ghost nets are discarded fishing nets. These nets can be deliberately discarded or lost at sea during fishing expeditions and end up traveling around the world on ocean currents. Here in Australia, the northern shores of our continent are significantly impacted by these nets, with particular effects on marine wildlife. These nets are known to capture, injure and kill a number of our marine species, including threatened marine turtles and sawfishes.

What can be done about this situation? There is certainly room for improvement to netting and fishing technology and restrictions to locations where nets are permitted. But as many of these nets are released or lost in countries other than ours, these solutions won't help the Australian marine wildlife in the short to medium-term.

So, here in Australia the majority of attention and funding is on the removal of these nets from our coasts and waters. Ghost Nets Australia is an alliance of indigenous communities across northern Australia which are funded to remove ghost nets from our shores. What a big job! Their website shows many initiatives that have been generated from this project, including recycling and art programs and scientific research.

This is certainly a big problem, particularly for northern Australian marine species and one which is generally out of sight of the majority of the Australian population.

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