Ghost Fishing UK nets great logistics support

The support of the communities of Shetland was incredible during our week-long mission to clear ghost gear from the surrounding waters. Not least DFDS Logistics who helped get the recovered fishing gear, such as ropes and nets, back to the mainland for recycling, and provided assistance with all sorts of things throughout the week, from delivering pallets to being on standby for moving creels around.

Ghost Fishing UK caught up with Shetland Operations Manager Bryan Hepburn to hear what he had to say about the project.

GFUK. Why did you decide to help Ghost Fishing UK?

Bryan. As soon as I heard about Ghost Fishing UK and spoke to Christine Grosart [the charity’s Secretary] I knew this was something we’d be keen to support. Cleaning debris from the sea, helping inshore fishermen recover lost gear and working in sympathy with local communities all chime with our core values and lived experience as members of a remote fishing community. With everything we do at DFDS supporting the cold chain transport of seafood across the UK we do it responsibly and sensibly. The team at Ghost Fishing UK are similar, the work they have done and the expertise they’ve shown is impressive.

The work Ghost Fishing UK undertake to do is dangerous but the way they approach it is so professional. Their commitment to their principles is inspiring and the barriers they’ve had to surmount in order to be allowed to do this work demonstrate just how serious they are. When people like that approach you for help then it’s difficult not to respond.

GFUK. What do you think of the work they have done this last week?

Bryan. The work done this week has been non-stop by the looks of it – a lot of net, rope and creels recovered – the fact there’s been zero waste from that has been pretty impressive. Jacking the lot into a skip and landfilling it is clearly against the ethos of the whole project. I was impressed not just by the efficacy of the subsea recovery work but everything being either reused (in the case of the lost creels) or recycled (like the polyprop rope being turned into Ocean Plastic Pots).

GFUK. What impact do you think it has had?

Bryan. I would like to think it’s helped bring this problem more into focus. A lot of people in the local community will be aware of this issue already but it’s also good to know what can be done about it. And what we still need to do about it.

GFUK. What did you think about the evening event?

Bryan. The evening event was good, the food and drink was much appreciated. I immediately liked the use of playing cards as drink tokens. Much better than normal drinks tokens because you can then have a wee game afterwards while you drink.

It was a nice touch to lay that on and to combine with other local groups too. Even though I’m sure the dive team would have been absolutely knackered and could perhaps have seen it far enough they persisted anyway. Which showed they appreciated the people who’d helped them and the community they’re operating in.

It’s been great to have Ghost Fishing UK here and I personally feel very happy to have been of help and allowed to be involved.

Bryan Hepburn