[ASC-media] Media Release: floating killers threaten sealife
jtyler at netspace.net.au
Wed Apr 21 10:21:43 EST 2004
21 April 2004
Ghost Nets – floating killers
Bundles of abandoned nets from fishing operations are continuing to
catch fish indefinitely– long after their escape from fishing boats –
posing a major environmental threat to sealife around Australia.
According to resource manager Riki Gunn, the abandoned nets are a major
threat to turtles in northern waters, particularly the Gulf of
Carpenteria, where the Arafura Sea feeds the gulf area.
Speaking at the Coast to Coast 2004 conference, Riki says that while
most of the nets are of international origin, the problem becomes local
when the nets and their dead cargo reach shore.
“A helicopter survey of turtles in the Gulf revealed absolutely
enormous bundles of netting every kilometre of coastline traversed –
averaging five of these bundles for every one kilometre” she says.
“Recently a net confiscated from an illegal boat in the Arafura sea
measured a staggering16 kilometres long.”
“These vast quantities of netting drifting around at sea are a deadly
trap for sealife and can seriously harm local wildlife, and we want to
bring a community focus to the issue.”
“There are many actions that the community can take that will help
“If we can monitor and document the source of the problem, we can have
ammunition to help policy makers.”
As well as the northern waters, Tasmania’s southern seas are also a
prime area for marine debris and lost or broken nets, with the Southern
Ocean and the density of fishing operations in the State’s south
creating problems for seals and seabirds.
Gunn is organising a forum in May to seek solutions, with
representatives including all the aboriginal communities surrounding
the Gulf, and all three levels of government, including Senator
She is a Director on the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group,
Secretary of the Barramundi Restocking Association, and is an ex-fisher
based Karumba, Qld.
Media Enquiries: Jess Tyler, SciBiz Media, 0408 298 292
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