Friday, January 9, 2015

GHOST NETS; act, engage and educate

Across the northern part of Australia there is an organisation called Ghost Nets Australia

For some years now they have been working with Indigenous Rangers, northern Indigenous Communities, as well as scientists and other partners on a variety of actions and activities to remove the wandering death traps known as ghost nets. These silent predators continue to entangle and kill long after the are discarded or lost by fishing vessels. The nets are often found washed on shore, deposited by currents enmass into estuaries and onto beaches and rock, often with creatures still entangled. 

Just in time! This beautiful turtle was found barely alive during patrol by Dhimurru Rangers. Photo by Jane Dermer.

If the nets haven't reached shore they may lie unseen near the surface and can damage boats traveling across the water. To get some perspective on the problem an example is sited of a six tonne gill net extracted from the coast of North East Arnhem Land in 2006. It required a partnership effort from several organisations to get the heavy cumbersome net off the beach.

Collection of tonnes these of nets by Indigenous Rangers and volunteers has continued over many years. One outcome has been the re-use of nets through art workshops and exhibitions. This active innovation has resulted in a wider public understanding of the nature of the ghost net threat and greater community engagement.

Workshop participants at St Pauls Village on Moa Island, Torres Strait. Picture by Dennis Newie.

Well known ghost net artist Nancy Nawwi (pictured in red) from Darnley Island very graciously devoted a lot of time to working on the fish. Photo by Greg Adams

For more information click here and to request an electronic copy of their newsletter here

'Art and the walls of death' (click here) is another article with great photos about the Ghost Nets project.

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