You could be a Ghostnet Recovery Diver
Picture: Sea Shepherd UK.
Free in-water training is now available for scuba divers interested in tackling the problem of the lost and abandoned fishing nets, lines and pots that trap marine life – and endanger unwary divers.
Sea Shepherd UK has linked up with training agency Scuba Diving International (SDI) to offer a new speciality course – Ghostnet Recovery.
The eco-activist charity says that its UK Ghostnet campaign, launched at the start of 2018, has already succeeded in recovering large amounts of nets and gear, as well as providing education on the issue through its outreach programme.
But while an increasing number of divers are reported to be keen to get involved in the project, Sea Shepherd stresses that proper training is vital to minimise the “significant risks” posed by such operations.
It says that specially trained SDI instructors are now ready to deliver the first accredited course to cover all the surveying and lifting techniques and safety considerations required. The SDI Sea Shepherd Ghostnet Recovery course is said to formalise the training previously delivered to Sea Shepherd UK’s existing team of volunteer divers.
12 September 2019
These divers and boat-crew work with the Marine Management Organisations and other authorities in England, Scotland and Wales “to ensure that ghost-fishing equipment is removed safely, legally and without harm to the environment or wildlife”.
Three RIBs are assigned year-round to the campaign, fitted with 3D sonar scanners to pinpoint wrecks and help locate and identify seabed obstructions.
The course lasts two days and includes four dives with theory classes in between. Candidates need to be qualified to SDI Advanced Adventurer or equivalent level, be over 21 and able to show that they have carried out at least 100 logged dives.
Successful completion of the course qualifies them to dive with the Sea Shepherd Ghostnet team.
“We have about 15 volunteers at present, and there will be no limit on numbers accepted for training, because divers will come and go,” Sea Shepherd’s Ghostnet Dive Co-ordinator Tony Land told Divernet. “Also, we can have different crews located in different areas.”
Land said that Sea Shepherd would later be looking at “rolling the course out across Europe to other Sea Shepherd chapters”.
Interested divers can learn more about the UK Ghostnet campaign here and contact Land about undertaking the course at [email protected]