Ghost nets? Ghost fishing? Sure it sounds cool, but it’s actually pretty gross. What I didn’t know and what you may not know is that all over the sea going world, fishermen and women regularly discard old, worn out nets in the ocean. You might think, oh, how bad could it be, since they must sink to the bottom and settle there. Wrong. Those discarded nets actually float and, worse yet, just keep on fishing.
Ghost nets as long as 60 miles have been spotted floating around fishing areas and the open ocean, trapping hundreds of thousands of fish, aquatic mammals, turtles, and other living things as they move. They can also collect garbage, growing larger and more dangerous as they do, or even choke coral reefs to death.
Luckily, there are groups out there who’s sole focus is finding and collecting ghost nets and taking care of animals who find themselves wearing pieces of old fishing nets. The Ocean Defenders Alliance, for example, has made it their mission to take dangerous man-made objects like ghost nets out of underwater habitats and liberate animals stuck in those nets. And then there’s Hawaii-based Nets to Energy and New England’s Fishing for Energy, both of which are committed to collecting ghost nets and recycling them for fuel.