01 Apr 2023

Ghost Diving Egypt joins East Med in Cyprus

2023 has started out by being a busy year for Ghost Diving East Med. While the winter season is an unstable time frame where the sea only gives us some window for diving, weather dependent, we take the available opportunities to SCOUT / SCAN the underwater locations for Discarded or Lost Fishing Gear.

Tools such as DPVs (Diver Propulsion Vehicles) and CCRs (Close Circuit Rebreathers) extend our limitations in scouting, making our coverage areas bigger and more efficient.

Multiple targets were logged during the first couple of months of the year and categorized by the necessity of removal and high-risk level depending on their location, size, activity and environment.

Missions are always planned based on resources, team availability and weather parameters; In early April, we had a team member visiting us from Ghost Diving Egypt for some diving around the island, and jumped at the opportunity to participate and help out with the lift.

Some old practices on the island used for Calamari fishing are illustrated as such. Fishermen install vertically standing trawling nets with small gauges, anchored by cement blocks on the bottom, and suspended upwards by flotation or buoyancy devices attached to the top of the Nets; these nets, become prime locations for Calamari to come and lay their egg bundles on the Nets due to the current parameters provided by the suspension factor, then the fishermen will anchor on the locations of those nets, and fish the calamari with the correspondent lures.

With time, the flotation / buoyancy devices used to create that vertical lift, fail, and then the Nets fall down and cover the area around them, mostly being Posidonia grass patches, killing all signs of life on that covered patch and the Posidonia under it.

In addition to the dangers and damage these nets structures cause when they fall down on the reef / Posidonia grass, the more Impactful type is the entanglement potential they could have while they still stand tall on several marine species, such as but not exclusive to, Big Fish, Dolphins, Resident Turtles, and lots of other marine creatures.

The team headed out that day, after the brief and mission plan, with the aim to remove those 2 nets and lift them back to the surface.

Christina, from Ghost Diving Egypt, being also a marine biologist, was interested to check out the different type of Nets being used in the area, and the impact they create onto the environment.

The Older Net that was already on the sea bed, was cut by the volunteers into 2 pieces before lifting, this helped with the surface retrieval onto the boat; whereas the second net was cleared from its attachment points on the ground, and also sent on its way back to the surface.

Another successful project was executed, and high risk discarded fishing gear were removed from the waters of Cyprus, giving more life chances to the marine species roaming the area.

Article & Visual Content: Imad Farhat | Ghost Diving East Med

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