Abundance and Distribution

Abundance and distribution of ghost nets from 2004 - 2012. Data compiled by Jen Goldberg. Map image by Google maps.

Abundance and Distribution

Although we have surveyed the coast of northern Australia, from Broome in WA to Lockhart River on the east coast of Australia, we've found that 90% of the nets are found in the northern half of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

On the eastern side of the Gulf, the nets are washed up on northwest facing beaches by the tropical monsoon winds and tides from October to May. On the western side of the Gulf, the nets are washed up by south-east trade winds during the dry season May-October.

This is due to the nets washing in from the Arafura Sea during the monsoonal season and then getting caught up in the washing machine effect of the mini gyre within the Gulf of Carpentaria. Once the nets are in the Gulf, they remain in this system until they are physically removed. The removal of the nets stops them from re-entering the oceanic system and continuing their destructive journey.