Scoping the Problem

Too late for this turtle. Photo by Alistair Dermer

Scoping The Problem

In Australia ghost nets (discarded or abandoned fishing nets) are devastating our endangered marine life.

This is particularly the case in Australia’s far north in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which is one of the last remaining safe havens for endangered marine and coastal species, including six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, dugongs and sawfish. Sadly these turtles make up 80 percent of the marine life found caught in the nets.

GhostNets Australia has already facilitated the rescue of over 300 entrapped turtles and removal of 13,000 nets from our beaches and estuaries. But as our former Project Officer Jen Goldberg identified, “We are still searching for the answers to some pretty important questions, such as:

  • Why do some regions receive more nets than others?.
  • How long does a ghost net stay in the water before it is beached?
  • Is this rubbish Australian? If not, where does it come from?
  • And who is responsible?
  • How does a ghost net move?
  • How many animals are entrapped by a ghost net? and
  • What to do with all this rubbish”

To answer these questions GNA, in partnership with CSIRO, has been able to learn from the nets themselves many things, use computer modelling to map their fishing effort and track nets in situ using satellite tracking technology.

Explore the thumbnails below to understand the full complexity of the problem we face.

Where Does the Rubbish Come From?

Where is all this rubbish coming from? who is responsible?

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Waste Management

We remove nets but what to do with the rubbish?

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Biodiversity Impacts

What are the true biodiversity impacts of ghost nets?

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