In June Downbelow staff team, assisted by our wonderful professional Divemaster Interns, found themselves busy removing yet another discarded fishing net from the TAR Park.
A few days earlier they found and reported the horrific find to the authorities, but we stepped up ourselves to go take care of the menace as they day before one of our instructors found a small blacktip reef shark killed by the net.
This was a huge net caught on a coral block on the shallow top reef but stretched down to more than 35m into the sandy abyss on the West side of Ribbon Reef (one of the best and healthiest reefs in the park).
Resident PADI Course Director Richard and PADI OWSI Wellson did the first dive cutting it at 20m, while freeing some marine life down to 30m+, and then hauled the entire remainder to the surface with lifting devices (a tricky & problematic operation).
Once on the boat they spent around half an hour cutting free and releasing various creatures, educating guests on the situation.
The second dive presented different challenges as the remainder was entangled deep into the delicate reef so with a full team to assist, they made short work of the problem and removed the entire net.
Net fishing is illegal in the TAR Park, but still on occasion some unscrupulous fishermen try their luck. Often the result is the loss of their net and a true menace is left behind to terrorize the marine environment.
At Downbelow we are expierienced net removal specialists and have been conducting self-funded net removals for many years.