This week, Ghost Fishing UK will be revisiting Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands for their annual underwater clean-up project. On 28-29 September, they will be joined by representatives from World Animal Protection and directors from the Fat Face Foundation, the charitable arm of international clothing brand Fat Face.
Ghost Fishing UK, a group of dedicated scuba divers, scientists, conservationists and project partners, will be spending the week surveying and recovering ‘ghost fishing gear’. This is any abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) which continues to catch and kill marine life, also acting as bait for more animals, which in turn become trapped.
Fat Face are putting their weight behind the ghost gear issue, having launched a new line of swimwear made from recycled fishing nets, and funding volunteer groups who retrieve marine litter from the ocean. World Animal Protection has brought these groups together through the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) to tackle this huge problem that traps, injures and kills more than 100,000 wild animals a year.
Through the GGGI, World Animal Protection (WAP) and Fat Face have enabled the Ghost Fishing UK team to work from two dive boats. One of the boats will be a training vessel, dedicated to educating the newer project members in their underwater skills and the recovery of ghost gear, teaching them how to go about the mission safely. This process will create a new layer of trained ghost fishing divers able to initiate and conduct ghost fishing projects in their own areas.
The second vessel will be working at depths down to 50m, some way beyond regular recreational scuba diving limits. They will be recovering nets, ropes and other ALDVG from the German battleships sunk in Scapa Flow at the end of World War One.
The entire team is now sporting an Eezycut Trilobite, courtesy of Blue Orb, which will aid them in their mission.
Bob Anderson, owner of dive charter vessel MV Halton has supported Ghost Fishing UK for the last three years. He co-ordinates the ‘Big Scapa Clean-up’, which is a project dedicated to cleaning up marine litter, including ALDFG, in and around Scapa Flow.
George Simpson of MV Sunrise will be skippering the training boat, which will also accommodate the project partners and representatives from World Animal Protection and Fat Face.
Ghost Fishing UK will be providing regular updates on their Facebook page, Ghost Fishing – UK, including ‘real time’ updates on the project progress.
More press releases will also be issued during the week containing more detailed information on the project.
Photographs by Bob Anderson and Paul Duckworth