After the success of our Debris Challenge in August 2022 where we collected 10,000 cigarette butts from the bay outside our dive centre, we have decided to give ourselves another challenge.
We found a disused 19 litre bottle and decided to get to put it to use.
The challenge is simple - we collect all the fishing wire we see when we are diving during 2023.
To see how much of an issue fishing wire is at our dive sites, we will collect all the wire we find during the year to fill our container (as long as it is safe to do so).
- The Debris issue - Fishing Wire
- 2023 Challenge
- Safety First
- Equipment needed
- What's next
The Debris Issue - Fishing Wire
As a diver, we have seen our fair share of the damage done by discarded fishing line in Malta. From fishing line strangling sea grass and sponges, to entangled marine life. Diving opens up a whole new world, but also opens your eyes to the issue of ghost fishing. Ghost fishing is the term for all the discarded, abandoned or lost fishing gear in our environment, which, in addition to fishing line, also includes traps and nets. It's called "ghost fishing" because once left unsupervised in the sea, the material carries on trapping the marine life.
Fishing line poses several issues when discarded into the sea. The line is a real entanglement hazard for the marine life, which can prove fatal. With the fishing hooks still attached to the line, it carries on ensnaring the fish when discarded in the sea. The hooks can break free of the line and cause further injury to the fish. The line is often attached to a fly (a heavy lead weight that helps the line sink). The weight can become trapped under rocks, the reef and in coral, moving back and forth in the surge, breaking the corals and wrapping the line around plants, strangling them and other marine life.
So how can we help?
While removing fishing line from our dive sites might be a drop in the ocean (pun intended) in eliminating the issue of ghost fishing, we believe every little bit helps. If we remove what we can then we hope our dive sites will be a healthier place. We also want to bring focus to this issue and raise awareness, both within the dive community, and beyond. Often people don't know about the issues occurring under the water, and having these challenges helps bring attention to where it is needed.
We also find a lot of divers have a passion for keeping our oceans clean, and want to find someone to complete a debris dive with.
We really enjoy our debris dives and the "challenge" of filling a mesh bag, and that great post-dive moment of seeing just what you pulled out of the ocean that should not be there. It's a great feeling and we are happy to share this with our divers.
We don't know if we can fill a huge 19 litre water bottle with just fishing wire, but you don't know if you don't try. Every little bit helps.
Removing debris from the ocean brings about its own risks and hazards and a diver needs to know and understand these risks. We love removing debris but a divers' safety comes first. Our dive staff are trained in removing debris (and what not to remove), and are happy to pass on this knowledge.
It is important to have the right equipment under the water, which can be taken on any dive.
First, a mesh bag is needed to collect debris - we love the Fourth Element mesh bag, however our dive staff will happily bring along a mesh bag for you to use when diving with us if you do not have your own.
Compared to other debris, fishing wire has its own unique risks when removing. It is an entanglement hazard for marine life, but also for divers as well, so care must be taken. It is especially important when untangling fishing wire to have a cutting tool available - we think the Eezycut tool is ideal for this (as well as a handy tool any diver can make use of) - and preferably two, with one being accessible by each hand.
And lastly, gloves are needed when collecting debris to avoid cuts to the hands. During the summer thin gloves are adequate to provide physical protection, and then thicker neoprene in the winter to both protect the hands and provide warmth.
If you are diving with us and you would like to borrow gloves and a mesh bag during a dive just let us know and we will happily bring one along (and join you in collecting debris).
Removing fishing wire from our environment isn't the only way to help. It's an ongoing mission against all debris. There are so many ways that you can help protect what you love.
The PADI Dive Against Debris Specialty is a great course to learn how to remove trash safely from our oceans, but also how to log the data with PADI AWARE so that the data can be used for policy changes. Make every dive a debris dive.
Having great buoyancy control in the water is a key element of protecting what you love. Our team can happily show you tips and tricks to improve buoyancy and position in the water to make sure your can passively interact with the environment without needing to touch anything (expect the debris as you remove it).
Or simply always carry a mesh bag with you on a dive and pick up any trash you see. We really believe every little bit helps.
Written by: Susie