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Marine Life & Conservation

Ocean loving charity goes potty for plastic (Watch Video)

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The ocean conservation charity Ghost Fishing UK has teamed up with award winning innovation Ocean Plastic Pots, in the first recycling initiative of its kind in the UK.

The charity consists entirely of volunteers, most of whom are scuba divers who give up their free time to survey and recover lost fishing gear.

Despite several initiatives on the continent, meaning shipping filthy fishing gear across Europe for sorting, cleaning and recycling, the charity were keen to find a solution on their home soil.

In a stroke of luck, charity trustee Christine Grosart came across Ally Mitchell at work and the idea grew.

Glasgow based Ally had been involved in the salvage of tonnes of plastic pieces from a grounded vessel off the coast of Scotland. He wanted to see if he could make something from the plastic waste. After a few experiments, Ocean Plastic Pots was born.

Christine explains: “Ally was a saturation diver – a deep sea diver working in the north sea. I was the medic on board the same dive vessel and to me, he was just another diver.

That was until everything changed when one day he asked to speak to me – in his high pitched, mickey mouse voice caused by all the helium he was breathing at -150m!

Luckily I speak helium and he was insanely excited to tell me all about this new idea he had about turning fishing nets into plant pots.”

“His business was still in its infancy but we were super keen to send some of our polypropylene nets his way. They had been recovered from the ocean by the volunteer divers of Ghost Fishing UK and stored, awaiting a recycling pathway.

No such pathway existed in the UK at the time and only specific types of material were being accepted for upcycling – and that had to be shipped across Europe.

This meant that the large majority of our nets could not be recycled. Until now.”

Polypropylene was the waste material from lost fishing nets that nobody wanted. But to Ally, it was extremely valuable and his plant pots are made entirely from polypropylene.

He took the lion’s share of the haul of ghost nets that Ghost Fishing UK recovered from 2021, which comprised 16 survey and 19 recovery dives, resulting in 180 individual dives by the volunteers.

Approximately 1000 kg of ghost gear was recovered by the team in 2021 and a staggering 1840 kg this year.

The Ghost Fishing Uk volunteers are poised to undergo another mammoth effort sorting and cleaning the nets they recovered this year, ready for recycling and transformation into yet more award winning plant pots.

Ally said:  “As a diver, I’ve been a long time supporter of Ghost Fishing UK. I was delighted to be able to recycle their recovered Ghost nets from the sea and put them back into our products, which benefit the environment”.

Ally has gone a step further and trained with the Ghost Fishing UK team, using his background expertise in commercial diving to good use. He is in a unique position to see the process through right from underwater recovery to the final end product.

  • Ghost Fishing is the term used when lost or abandoned fishing gear continues to fish, round the clock, catching and killing animals that will never be landed.

  • Lost fishing gear is estimated to make up almost half of the Great Pacific Garbage patch.

  • Ocean Plastic Pots has won awards at the Chelsea Flower Show and Ghost Fishing UK has won the Plastic Free Awards and Fishing New sawards for their ocean clean up efforts.

  • Ocean Plastic Pots were also recipients of a Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award for Sustainability and innovation.

Christine said: “We’re delighted here at Ghost Fishing UK to see Ocean Plastic Pots going from strength to strength, turning lost fishing nets found on beaches and shipwrecks and reefs, into award winning plant pots. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have this wonderful partnership”.

Stuck for a Christmas present this year? Ocean Plastic Pots are on sale now at Waitrose and John Lewis, or you can buy directly here:

www.oceanplasticpots.com/collections/all

Images and Video: Ghost Fishing UK/Ocean Plastic Pots

Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Trust Launches New Podcast

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shark trust

The Shark Trust has launched their new podcast. Delve behind the scenes and gain exclusive insights in the world of shark and ray conservation on The Shark Trust Podcast. Out Now!

Join the Shark Trust on this journey as they explore the diverse world of sharks. Hear from experts from different backgrounds and learn how you can become a part of the global effort to protect these vital species.

Whether you’re a seasoned shark expert or just dipping your toes beneath the surface, this podcast offers something for everyone!

shark trust

In the first series you will hear from the Shark Trust team. Shark Trust Patrons, Monty Halls, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Simon Rogerson. Divers with a passion for sharks. And some of the Oceanic 31 artists.

New episodes released every two weeks on all major podcast platforms and watch full video versions on the Shark Trust YouTube Channel. Keep your eyes peeled for the bonus minisodes!

There are two available to dive into right now!

Episode 1: Dive beneath the waves of shark and ray conservation with Mark as he speaks with Paul Cox, CEO of the Shark Trust. Paul and Mark discuss the threats and difficulties that sharks and rays currently face in the modern world. And how the Shark Trust is working to create a better future for them!

Bonus Minisode: Join Mark at Go Diving, the UK’s biggest dive show. He interviews Shark Trust Patron, Simon Rogerson, about his diving experiences and how seeing sharks can transform your life!

For more information about the work of the Shark Trust, visit their website here.

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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