10 Apr 2022

Ghost Net Retrieval Workshop in Greece

On April 8-9, Ghost Diving Greece hosted the Ghost Net Retrieval Workshop at the Scubalife Dive Center to encourage qualified divers to learn the skills to safely retrieve abandoned fishing nets. We really enjoyed holding our first workshop to share our love of conservation and preservation of the surrounding seas.

With every fun dive, we all as divers aim to safely descend beneath the waves, explore the aquatic world and finish up back at the surface with stories to tell, photos to share and only leaving bubbles behind.

As much as we wish it wasn’t a problem, it’s now becoming harder and harder to ignore and avoid the global issue of ocean debris and plastic pollution in its many forms including the huge problem of abandoned fishing nets. Around the world, working in combination with Healthy Seas and Ghost Diving, are countless volunteers doing all they can to play a part in removing as much waste from the ocean as possible.

This leads our first workshop, we aimed to share our knowledge and passion with qualified divers into removed fishing gear. It started with an introduction into Ghost Divers and Healthy Seas on the incredible work that we are doing. We covered the standard procedures including finding and planning the safe recovery of nets as well as the journey the nets will go on after their recovery - transport, recycling and reuse.

After a dry run which included team roles, communication and orientation, we then practiced fixing the lift bags to the net and inflating the lift bags to the surface safely and onto the boat. The next part of our workshop was the open water training where we had safely secured a net to retrieve in a controlled environment.

Our amazing team of divers headed down with enthusiasm and passion to 12 meters to begin a conducted survey and recovery of the net. Upon locating the net, the divers got to work securing the lift bags and safely lifting the net to the surface using the team roles and training provided in the workshop. We rotated roles so every diver got a chance to play a vital role.

Back at the dive center, we held a post diving briefing on how the divers performed and began a plan for tomorrow’s retrieval.

Day 2 began with our keen workshop volunteers analyzing gases and prepping the dive equipment followed by the second net retrieval briefing, this time by boat, ready to put their newly learnt skills into a real-life situation. On to the boat we discussed our dive plan, reconfirmed roles and off we rolled.

In the water, our volunteers located and marked the net via SMB and began to place the lift bags and preform the lift. Once the net was on the surface and stable, our team began the hard work of releasing any living organisms entangled in the net and loading it into the boat. The team worked great together and it was amazing to see the workshop skills come together in a real situation.

Upon reaching the harbor, we moved the net from the boat onto the dock where we loaded the net onto the truck to start its journey to Lavrio for recycling.

Back at the dive center, after a big congratulations to our volunteers for their part in our important project, we presented Healthy Seas t-shirts and welcomed them to the ever growing family of Ghost Divers.

Our volunteers appreciated the work that goes into retrieving just one net and feel they left with a greater understanding of preserving our underwater environment and the hazards that ghost nets cause. They cannot wait for more opportunities to be a part of ridding the worlds seas of discarded fishing gear.

We are looking forward to the future and hosting more workshops to educate and involve more of the diving community.

Happy ghost hunting…

Jordan Allured, passionate ocean conservationist

Proud Member of Ghost Diving Greece since 2021
SSI Technical instructor
GUE tech 1

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