The PADI Open Water Diver Course teaches us that a dive knife can be a useful tool to carry when diving but in many cases we forget to keep one with us, I recently found myself in this very position.
On a dive at Sulug Island in the TAR Park, Kota Kinabalu such a tool would have been very useful and i for one learned a valuable lesson in remembering to pack this rarely used tool.
We discovered an abandoned 10m long fishing net tangled among the corals, posing real danger for the surrounding marine life which includes the endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles.
Various crustaceans had already perished after becoming entangled which attracted other animals to feed on the remains, putting them in danger also.
After 20 minutes we managed to free one Lobster – had we been carrying a knife the process would have been much quicker, suffice to say the creature survived.
Fortunately we were able to revisit the dive site the following day with a cutting tool and after an hour of hard work remove the net from the reef and dispose of it safely on land.
In many cases it is better to just cut up the net and leave it in place because more damage can be done to the delicate corals when trying to remove it. So long as marine life cannot become entangled in the net then it can remain in place causing little harm.
Questions as to why anyone was fishing within this National Park is for another discussion but the lesson learned here is as divers carrying a dive knife can be very useful because sadly from time to time we do encounter disregarded fishing nets that pose hazards for marine and human life.
Thanks to Spencer Steadman for the images and his patience and assistance during the dive.
For more information on the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, please read our dedicated pages.