South-west pot recovery

Image: Ghost Fishing UK

The volunteer run charity Ghost Fishing UK, Fishing News Awards winners of the sustainability category, have been back to business in the south-west.

Owing to our fishermans’ reporting system and growing relationship with the fishing industry, the skipper of Emily K, Falmouth, reported a string of pots which had been lost in the winter storms.

A team of seven volunteer divers from the charity, specially trained to survey and recover lost fishing gear, set off from Mylor on board Moonshadow.

Three teams of divers searched north and south of the given marks and encountered one end of a string of pots, covering some distance to confirm the string was lost.

One of the teams found pots leading off the reef down to thirty-three metres depth, ending with the main line tangled around a boulder and a frayed snapped rope. They surveyed twelve pots in detail, finding a lot of crab and lobster still alive in the pots.

Another team found the other end of the string which stretched almost half a mile across the reef with over thirty pots. They marked this with a surface marker buoy for the return the next day.

Deemed too many to recover onto the dive boat in one go, the skipper was in contact with the local fishermen discussing whose gear it could be, to arrange assistance to recover it. The owner was contacted to discuss recovery options and he confirmed that the string should have thirty-six pots, lost 12-18 months ago.

The divers recovered twelve pots freeing thirty-five brown crabs, seven spider crabs, three lobsters, ten starfish, a flatfish and a scallop (all alive except for three brown crabs). The remaining pots were marked with a buoy for the fishing vessel to recover onto their larger boat the following Monday. The divers had cleared all pots of obstructions over the two dives, so hauling onto the vessel was straightforward.

Jamie of Emily K told us, “We were delighted to have a string of pots we’d lost in the storms, recovered. The work you’re doing is fantastic for the inshore grounds and fleet. Please keep up the good work.”