Removing deadly fishing gear from the Mediterranean Sea

Ghostnet Campaign

Ghostnet Campaign
Protecting the Mediterranean Sea

Sea Shepherd Italy's Ghostnet Campaign is a dedicated initiative launched to combat the escalating crisis of ghost nets in the Mediterranean Sea. Using the MV Conrad, a 17-meter catamaran outfitted with a smallboat and hauling equipment for longlines, the campaign aims to locate, recover, and safely dispose or recycle ghost nets and other lost or abandoned fishing gear that wreak havoc on marine ecosystems. Working hand-in-hand with professional divers, the crew and volunteers of the Ghostnet Campaign aim to alleviate the pressure of marine debris on local biodiversity, protecting marine wildlife and ultimately fostering healthier seas. 

640k Tons Dumped in the Sea Each Year
What are Ghostnets?

Ghost nets are abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing nets that haunt our oceans, indiscriminately entangling and killing marine life long after their intended usage. These deadly remnants of the fishing industry are responsible for causing significant harm to marine ecosystems, posing a threat not just to fish but also to larger marine animals, including dolphins, turtles, and seals. The nets, often made from durable and non-degradable plastics, can continue their destructive path for decades, even centuries, in the marine environment. Up to 70% by weight of all macroplastic debris in the sea is estimated to be ghost fishing gear. An estimate by UNEP and FAO suggested, as early as 2009, that around 640,000 tons of ghost nets are added to our oceans each year. It is probable that today this number is even higher. 

How is Sea Shepherd Making a Difference?
Ghostnet Campaign Objectives

1. Database of Abandoned Fishing Gear in the Mediterranean Sea: our online database allows anyone to report the presence of abandoned fishing equipment.

2. Analysis and Removal of Ghostnets with Professional Divers: we use underwater 3D scanners to identify abandoned fishing gear, particularly in areas where it may be snagged on wrecks and rocks.

3. Recovery and Recycling: after the successful recovery of the ghostnets, they're transported ashore for recycling or safe disposal.

4. Disclosure of Data: sharing scientific data collected during the campaign provides valuable information on the current state of our sea.

Learn more
Sea Shepherd Italy on the Frontlines
Ghostnet Campaign Videos
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