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Marine Life & Conservation

Ghost Fishing UK remove over 180 kilos of deadly lost fishing gear from Sussex seabed



Almost 200Kg of lost fishing gear known as ‘Ghost Gear’ has been recovered from the seabed by volunteer divers from the charity Ghost Fishing UK, in a collaborative project with Sussex Wildlife Trust.

The charity Ghost Fishing UK responded this week to reports from scuba divers in the Brighton area to locate and survey lost fishing nets on the shipwreck of the Pentyrch, before making a plan to remove it.

Lost or abandoned fishing gear is problematic in our oceans, with an estimated 640,000 tonnes lost into the sea globally each year.

The lost nets and pots known as ‘Ghost Gear’ continue fishing non-stop. The catch is never landed and the trapped animals act as bait for others, in a non-stop cycle of wasteful deaths known as ‘Ghost Fishing’.

The team brought the net back on board the diving vessel Channel Diver operating from Brighton Marina and the net will now be stored for recycling.

Despite covid-19 restrictions, the team underwent daily testing and diligent hygiene in order to carry out the mission.

This was the second mission the team of volunteers had undertaken in the Sussex region this year following plentiful reports by scuba divers of lost nets fouling the wrecks in the area, causing a hazard not just to them, but the wildlife along the Sussex coastline.

Working in 18 metres of water, the visibility was good and the divers have so far this season been able to recover 275 Kg of lost nets in just three dives.

Trustee and underwater photographer for the charity Christine Grosart said:

The team were delighted to be asked to join up with Sussex Wildlife Trust’s ‘Wild Coast Sussex’ project. It was great to have them on the boat so that they could see what goes on at the sharp end of our charity, removing ghost gear from the sea and it was great to finally start cleaning up the Sussex region where we had not been before this spring.”

Wild Coast Sussex was set up to inspire local communities to care for the marine environment and enable them to protect their coast and sea.

As part of a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, working with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) and Brighton SEA LIFE, the project aims to:

  • Inspire and connect people to the Sussex coast and sea
  • Engage people in direct action to protect the Sussex coast and sea
  • Enable learning and activities that encourage people to make positive lifestyle choices and behaviour change to reduce negative impacts on the Sussex Coast and sea
  • Empower people to share experience and influence others to protect the Sussex coast and sea

Ghost Fishing UK were invited to get involved owing to their extensive experience training divers to survey and safely recover lost fishing gear, which is found via their online reporting system that is open to both fishermen and divers.

Nikki Hills, project manager for Wild Coast Sussex joined the team on board Channel Diver this week. She told us:

It was fantastic to join the Ghost Fishing UK team on a trip to recover ghost nets off the Sussex Coast and see first-hand the dedicated work of the divers and the amount of net they managed to remove.

Removing this net is so important because if left, it can trap precious marine wildlife and add to plastic in the sea. The Wild Coast Sussex Project is really pleased to support the work of Ghost Fishing UK and it’s great to have them in Sussex.”

The SS Pentyrch was a cargo steam ship, torpedoed in 1918. Plenty of the wreckage can still be seen protruding from the sandy seabed. Unfortunately, these protrusions snag on fishing nets and can cause them to break away. They then continue to fish until they can be removed.

Miss Grosart said “We are very grateful for the reports from divers about these nets. We are also very keen to work with the fishing industry to get these unfortunate losses, which are not deliberate, back out of the sea. We would urge fishermen to tell us if they have lost any pots or nets so that we can see if it is possible for us to remove and then recycle them, or in some cases return them, keeping them out of the ocean forever.

We are soon launching a reporting system dedicated for fishermen so that they can report losses to us in confidence.

Ghost Fishing UK also works with the key organisations involved in the project, such as Seasearch and the SeaLife Trust and are available to give talks to schools and interested parties about the work they are doing to raise awareness of the issues affecting our oceans.

You can see more about the work of Ghost Fishing UK on this BBC feature here:

For more information visit their website by clicking here.

All image credits: Ghost Fishing UK

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit

Marine Life & Conservation

Scubaverse meet the Ullapool Sea Savers



On a recent trip to the Highlands of Scotland we met up with an amazing bunch of ocean conservationists called the Ullapool Sea Savers. They are a passionate group of young people based in the beautiful coastal town of Ullapool who are working to protect the marine environment around them and it was a real pleasure to hear their ideas and to witness just how committed they are to their cause.

They are a group run by kids for kids, in response to the inspirational work of local marine campaigner Noel Hawkins. Their core premise is that people will protect what they love and they aim to show people just how much there is to love about the sea. The Ullapool Sea Savers keep things positive and work to inspire those around them and each other.

Each Sea Saver is a Species Champion, and they nominate their preferred species, learn all about them and then present a “fact fie” to the rest of the group. This ties in with the Species Champion Initiative launched by Scottish Environment LINK which asks Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) to lend political support to the protection of Scotland’s threatened wildlife by becoming ‘Species Champions’. This has led to some great support from MSPs when it comes to campaigning, such as Maree Todd MSP and Minister for Children and Young People (who is also from Ullapool which helped!) becoming the Flameshell Species Champion and working closely with Caillin who is Flameshell Ambassador for the Ullapool Sea Savers. Similarly, Gail Ross MSP for our region, took on the role of Seagrass Species Champion and helped USS campaign against plans to allow Mechanical Kelp Extraction (Dredging!) to be given the go ahead in Scotland. There are plenty more example of this great partnering scheme here.

On top of this, the Ullapool Sea Savers have formed pods, and each small group selects a local campaign to work on, with the “New Wave” working on a “Drain Campaign” to educate people that litter dropped on the street ends up in the surrounding sea. They recently surveyed the litter by the first drain in the campaign and found over 300 cigarette butts that would have all washed out to sea during the next rainfall.

The “Blue Starfish” are working on a crisp packet recycling campaign, starting at the local school with hopes to widen the scale going forward. There is now also the newly formed Seal Pups Pod and we look forward to seeing what campaign they decide to focus on.

Many of the group have passed qualifications in snorkeling, diving, boat handling and they are currently learning to operate an ROV that they plan to use to mark underwater litter and ghost nets so it can be retrieved by divers. The group are also regularly found litter-picking along the coastline. As a group they have a powerful voice and recently won the Sunday Mail, Young Scot Awards 2021 for the Environment Category.

The older kids mentor some of the younger ones that are new to joining the group and what really struck us on meeting the group was how keen they were to pass on their wealth of knowledge and their passion for ocean conservation. We chatted to them about what we do and told them about some of our favourite marine life encounters from around the world. I hope we inspired them just a fraction as much as they inspired us! 

To find out more about the Ullapool Sea Savers you can visit their website by clicking here.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Discover Whale Sharks in the Galapagos tomorrow with Regaldive



Regaldive are inviting divers to join them next Wednesday for a virtual tour of the Galapagos Islands.  Marine biologist Sofía Green will give an insight into her incredible encounters with Whale Sharks.

An expert on Whale Shark behaviour, Sofía has been part of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project since 2017 and is at the forefront of global Whale Shark research. She will also be leading Regaldive’s exclusive Whale Shark Expedition in September 2022, timed to visit during prime Whale Shark season. Founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project, Jonathan Green, will also be joining the Zoom event taking questions so do join them to find out more.

  • Date: Wednesday, 16 June
  • Timings: 7-8 pm (UK time)

Register via email here to book your place and let the team know if you have any questions you would like to ask Sofia and Jonathan.

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email

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