Cleaning up our wild isla banner

Big Give Christmas Challenge Logo

This year, Ghost Fishing UK is taking part in the Big Give Christmas Challenge, the UK’s biggest online match funding campaign.

We are delighted to announce that we have secured a champion to go with the pledges we got back in the summer and we now need to raise £9250 from public donations for this week only, your public donations will be doubled. Giving us a total of £18500 to go towards next year’s projects.

Cleaning Up Our Wild Isles

The volunteer-run charity Ghost Fishing UK trains scuba divers to survey and remove lost fishing gear or ‘ghost gear’. This citizen science project involves recycling and public outreach and focuses on fostering positive relationships with local communities to benefit the ocean, wildlife and fish stocks.


The problem of ghost fishing gear is long-standing. It is an unfortunate aspect of fishing that nets, pots, and lines can and do get lost. It is important to note that is rarely an intentional action by the fishing community but rather a reality of the challenging conditions in which they work.

The lost gear continues to catch marine life, which has an undoubted but poorly documented effect on the local and global marine ecosystem. As a citizen science project, Ghost Fishing UK is focused on collecting data and removing this lost fishing gear for recycling in the UK.


  • Environment. Improving the marine environment by locating and safely removing lost fishing gear, ensuring any trapped life is returned to its natural habitat.
  • Evidence. We gather data, images and video, recording everything the charity does. We also collect evidence regarding lost fishing gear’s impact on the marine environment.
  • Education. Using our data, we work with NGOs, schools, the fishing industry and academic organisations to educate invested parties.

We can locate and remove lost gear using our unique diver and fishing community reporting system.

Campaign aims

  • Locate & Recover: The funds will pay for 10 missions in 12 months. Each mission involves a survey day to locate and survey lost gear. Then a recovery day to safely remove the surveyed lost fishing gear under an MMO Licence exemption. A two-day mission costs £1,200 in boat charter, plus diving gas costs.
  • Outreach & Recruitment: Some funds will be used to pay for outreach and diver recruitment and encourage the fishing community to engage with their reports. This includes having a stand presence at dive shows and events, such as the Scottish Skipper Expo.
  • Transportation: Committee volunteers have been using personal vehicles and trailers (sometimes to destruction!) for transporting the recovered fishing gear to our storage facility for cleaning and recycling. The charity needs to purchase a new trailer for approximately £2,000.