300 Pounds Of 'Ghost Nets' Removed From Ocean Floor

Ocean Defenders Alliance Removed Ghost Nets From Ocean Floor Off Coronado Islands

The ocean is a safer place for marine life on Tuesday after hundreds of pounds of potentially deadly netting was pulled from the ocean floor off the Coronado Islands.

Volunteer divers with the Ocean Defenders Alliance organization pulled into Seaforth Marina in Mission bay after a full day of diving with 300 pounds of "ghost nets," which are very damaging to the ocean's ecosystem.

Ghost nets are nets that are dropped in the water by fishermen and left behind.

While the nets are not illegal, they are deadly because smaller sea life will become stuck in the net. When larger sea animals go to feed on them, they get stuck as well. Those animals often die as a result.

Kurt Lieber, who is the president and cofounder of the Ocean Defenders Alliance, spoke of an earlier ghost net operation.

"Three weeks ago, we were moving nets off of Catalina. There were six dead sea lions in that one and they were freshly killed. These animals decompose within anywhere from two to five days," he said.

While the ghost nets may be deadly to the sea life it attracts, the volunteers with the Ocean Defenders Alliance are risking their lives when they dive down to cut the nets free from the ocean floor.

"When you're down deep like that you can suffer decompression sickness [or] get caught in the net," said Lieber. "All kinds of things go wrong with what we do."

Lieber said ghost net kills 10 to 15 percent of sea life every year. He said that statistic keeps his group of volunteers dedicated to the task at hand, no matter what.

"[They're a] great bunch of people," he said.

About 700 pounds of ghost nets still remains on the ocean floor off the Coronado Islands. It will likely be removed within the next few weeks.

Print this article Back to Top