Introducing our partners: Part 3
We produce by hand – from the very beginning, as even the ghost nets for our products are retrieved by hand (and fins): Our partners at Ghost Diving (previously Ghost Fishing) have taken it upon themselves to free the seas from the haunt of the nets. The experienced, voluntary technical divers recover ghost nets from depths of up to 50 meters and save countless marine animals in the process.
Ghost Diving and all members of the organization are making an incredibly great and valuable contribution to marine conservation. With their commitment, they enable us to manufacture our products, and all of us to save the oceans together. In return, we also support the “Ghost Divers”, are in close contact with them and spread the message about our common mission. That’s why we would like to introduce the commitment of Ghost Diving in more detail to you here!
Ghost Diving’s work
What’s their mission?
The world can learn something from Ghost Diving: the volunteer divers use their skills, experience and knowledge to give something back to the oceans. More precisely, they take back what we humans have left in the oceans – old fishing equipment drifting through the water. At the same time, the organisation is promoting preventive measures to prevent ghost nets from entering the oceans in the first place. With every ghost net recovered or prevented, Ghost Diving is fighting for their mission to liberate the oceans and marine animals from the haunt of ghost nets, and making sure that the nets don’t dissolve into dangerous microplastics in 400-600 years.
How and since when do we collaborate with Ghost Diving?
In 2016, we approached Healthy Seas to present our idea for Bracenet. They were thrilled – and since then, we are not only networked with Healthy Seas, but also with Ghost Diving! Our two partners collaborate closely with each other: After all, Ghost Diving is one of the founding members of Healthy Seas along with Aquafil and Star Sock. In many places, Healthy Seas organises the recovery missions with the Ghost Divers – that’s why our support for Healthy Seas is also supporting Ghost Diving. With the help of our donations of 150,000 € to Healthy Seas and Ghost Diving, alongside others’ donations, they were able to expand their activities, upgrade their equipment and grow their diving teams from 50 to 250 members.
Where does Ghost Diving recover nets?
Ghost nets are a global problem and require a global solution. What started as a volunteer project in the Netherlands in 2009 is now a worldwide movement: Ghost Diving The Netherlands, Adriatic, East Med, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Korea, Lake Iseo, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Spain, United Kingdom and USA have collectively recovered hundreds of tons of ghost nets. And their influence goes beyond their respective waters – because Ghost Diving is, like us, part of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to fight against ghost nets in a worldwide network.
How does the recovery of ghost nets take place?
Finding ghost nets
Ghost Diving collects information about discovered nets and actively searches for entangled nets on reefs and wrecks. This involves checking the condition of the nets to ensure that they are ghost nets and no longer being used. One indicator is that they are overgrown with algae. If you see a ghost net yourself, you can inform Ghost Diving of this via their website.
Recovering ghost nets
Where exactly is the net and how can it be reached? What kind of marina flora grows here, what marine animals live here? What kind of net is it and what condition is it in? Once these questions have been resolved, the Ghost Divers head out onto the water. When they go diving, they each carry four oxygen tanks, weighing a total of 70 kilos – in addition to their other equipment. That should make clear that only experienced divers with technical training are involved in these projects! As soon as they reach the net, they examine it closely and free animals that are caught, as you can see in this video, for instance. They then use knives to cut loose the nets, which are often completely tangled, and attach “lifting bags” filled with air to bring the nets to the surface. This is where the rest of the team awaits the divers in their boat and hauls in the nets, using a crane if necessary. Mission complete!
What happens with the nets?
Back ashore, Healthy Seas takes over and hands the nets to our partner Nofir’s factories in Lithuania and Turkey for environmentally friendly cleaning.
As the nets have driften in different waters sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, they are not all in the same condition. We choose the best and most beautiful ones on site to manufacture our products. These are mostly nets made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene), because they are well suited for daily use and can give us many more years of joy. We have the freedom of choice, as Nofir supplies the remaining nets to Aquafil for recycling.
On the way to their new purpose as bracenets, dog leashes and our other products, the nets have one final journey ahead: to us in Germany. For this purpose, we wait for transporters with free space that are driving in our direction anyway and book the available space for our nets. This way we make sure that the transporters are not on the road for nothing and transport the nets as sustainably as possible.
What has Ghost Diving achieved so far?
In their collaboration with Healthy Seas alone, Ghost Diving has recovered over 773 tons of ghost net since 2013. This is in addition to the work carried out in the four previous years since Ghost Diving’s founding in 2009, as well as independent recovery trips and collaborations with Greenpeace, WWF, Global Ghost Gear Initiative and Global Underwater Explorers. But even more exciting is what is yet to come: More and more teams are joining the Ghost Divers and are going to make the seas around the world a little cleaner in the coming years. We are delighted to be able to accompany and support the divers in their efforts!
How can I support Ghost Diving? Where can I learn more?
Together we have already achieved a lot and together we will achieve much more. We are well prepared: We are widely networked, represented in the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and are counting on great support, like from yourself.
Would you like to support Ghost Diving? You can, for instance, donate to the organisation directly. Or are you very experienced in diving and are interested in voluntary work on your weekends to recover ghost nets yourself? Then please contact Ghost Diving directly!