Fathoms Free are a group of volunteer conservationists, divers and sea lovers from all over Cornwall who work together to clean up the sea of Ghost fishing gear and marine debris. Ghost Fishing Gear refers to any fishing equipment or fishing related litter that has been abandoned, lost or discarded. This can include nets, lobster and crab or whelk pots, angling gear including hooks, lures, ropes, cables, weights and floats. Unfortunately, once lost at sea the Ghost Gear will continue to “fish”, entangling and trapping wildlife indiscriminately. These animals will die trapped and then act as bait attracting more wildlife in a vicious cycle until the ghost gear is removed from the water. We respond to reports from divers and other water users to locate and remove ghost fishing gear as a matter of urgency. Nets that have washed up on shore need to be recovered before the next high tide comes to take it back to sea. Ghost Fishing Gear sightings reported in underwater sites could be moved on by tides and currents so it’s important to act quickly, and the longer it is left in the water the more destruction it will cause to the habitat and more wildlife killed.
We are so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful coastline in Cornwall and we want to protect the marine environment and wildlife from the harm caused by Ghost Fishing Gear.
We want to hit the water running in 2022, we have plans to carry out more Ghost Net Retrieval and Marine Debris clean ups than ever. Our aim is to clean up 12 sites known to be littered with harmful Ghost Fishing Gear over the course of 2022 with our team of volunteer divers and crew. With your help, funds raised will allow us to charter boats large enough to carry a 10 person strong dive team and crew and importantly space to haul in the nets, pots and other marine litter and release any live wildlife entangled in it.