Divers have recovered more than 40 square meters of deadly nets and disused lobster pots endangering marine life while exploring for wrecks off the coast of Newcastle.
The Ghost Diving UK volunteer team set out from Royal Quays Marina in North Shields to two locations, including the wreck of the SS Mars, an 80-meter Swedish steamboat that sank in 1939 after hitting a mine German, killing seven people.
At a depth of about 100 feet, they recovered 40 square meters of net that weighed 125 kg – manually lifting them up to the support boat.
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On a second dive, on the nearby wreck of the SS Hanne, the team recovered 15 disused lobster traps.
Disused nets and lobster pots, known as “ghost nets”, are deadly to marine life.
Duncan Simpson, a technical diver from Ghost Diving UK, said: “The nets capture aquatic life which causes other aquatic species to feed on them and they get stuck in the net and then die.
“Until we break the cycle and remove the net, this will continue. We retrieve the net, bring it back to the marina, and then it’s recycled to another end, eliminating the threat of the sea.
“Without being able to get the boat and the team and the funding behind it, we wouldn’t be able to get it out.
“It’s really important that we get them out of the sea. They would stay there forever, continuing to catch and kill.”
Ghost Diving UK coordinated the event on August 15, which was supported by Hyundai UK as part of its new partnership with Healthy Seas.
Healthy Seas is a global organization that works with teams of volunteer divers from the Ghost Diving charity to salvage abandoned fishing nets from coral reefs and wrecks so they can be recycled into new materials.
Salvaged fishing nets and other nylon scraps can become ECONYL®, a reclaimed nylon thread which in turn can be used to make new products such as the floor mats for the new Hyundai IONIQ 5 electric car.
Ashley Andrew, Managing Director of Hyundai UK, said: “For us having this partnership and demonstrating our commitment to environmental, societal and sustainability issues is very important to us and we are really happy to be working with Healthy Seas.
“We want to be a brand that has a real purpose and it’s important that we don’t just offer products and services, but do so responsibly, so we are now working with suppliers to take that waste and transform in products that we integrate into our vehicles. “
Veronika Mikos, Director of Healthy Seas, added: “We are delighted to partner with Hyundai on a pan-European level.
“It is clear that we share the same passion for protecting the environment with Hyundai’s leadership in developing sustainable mobility solutions and our experience in protecting marine ecosystems.”
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