SPI Piling Ltd had the pleasure in accompanying 6 volunteer Divers of Ghost Fishing UK on their journey from Eyemouth to the Glanmire wreck in Scotland earlier this month.
Having the privilege of boarding the Wavedancer 2 of Divestay, skippered by Garry Steenvoorden (Divestay) with deckhand Graham McColl the mission was to release all fishing nets that have over the years wrapped itself around the Glanmire wreck, coursing harm to animals in the ocean and also polluting our sea.
As a business we are committed to ensuring our impact on the environment is minimal. Having strict policies regarding our environmental impact and the sustainability of the services we provide are key to our success. As such we are keen to support such charitable organisations working hard to make a difference.
A little bit of information on the Glanmire:-
On Thursday 25th July 1912, The Glanmire struck a rock off St Abbs Head, and sank within twenty minutes. The steamer, which belonged to the Rankine Line (Limited), 45 West Nile Street, Glasgow, was bound from Amsterdam to Leith with a cargo of sugar.
The captain later admitted he was unfamiliar with the coastal waters of Scotland. This is by far the most accessible, worthwhile wreck in the St. Abbs area and is often diveable. Only a few minutes from the harbour in approximately 30m of water, a lot of wreckage remains but ninety plus years in salt water has taken its toll. Much of the Glanmire is now flattened, however there are some places where it rises about 5m from the bottom, one being the steel propeller that stands upright and another being the boilers. There has been plenty of visitors over the years so if you visit and are expecting some sort of trophy from the wreckage, please bear in mind it has been well picked at over the years and little of nothing now remains.
This is not a dive for the inexperienced. Although not especially deep, it can be very gloomy and also very cold. In the spring temperatures of four or five degrees centigrade can be expected.
A lot of the wreckage is covered in colourful soft corals and with many other invertebrates established between them, the Glanmire resembles the colourful reefs for which this stretch of coast is renowned for.
In St. Abbs main attraction is the sea life. The wreck is home to many Conger, Wolfish as well as smaller creatures which are all worth looking out for, you are also likely to see bib and they congregate in small groups in the shelter of the wreckage (there are not many places you would see this)
Ghost Fishing UK.
What the hell is that?
Ghost fishing UK is a UK Charity that remove’s lost Fishing gear from the sea.
Every year tonnes of fishing nets and lobster pots are lost in the sea. Ghost fishing UK as a team (Family) are trying to reduce the amount of lost gear in the sea around the UK.
Why? You might ask!
Let us simplify this, the three main reasons are!
Huge nets are a danger to Divers and shipping. If a diver see’s a net under water the first thing to do is get as far away from it as you can, if court in one of these nets could be a difference between life and death, No one wants to be tangled up in one of those things, and boats fair no better if nets or ropes get stuck around a propeller.
Nets and pots are designed for one thing in our waters, that is to trap wildlife and weather someone is holding the end or not that is exactly what they do only there is no one holding the end with Ghost gear and whatever is trapped in the net or pot will simply die. This acts as bait for other animals who then get trapped and the circle continues indefinitely.
Most modern nets are made of plastic. Plastic that given the action of the sea is slowly rubbed back and forth turning it into micro plastics. Micro plastics are everywhere, this then enters the food chain and eventually into us.
Other kinds of pollutants such as plastic bags, bottles, and food wrappers, which take hundreds of years to decompose, unless removed.
So how do Ghost Fishing UK go about doing what they do?
Firstly, they train all their divers, Ghost Fishing UK, only pick competent divers that pass a series of in water skills. Once a diver has shown a good level of in water skills, they teach them about documenting the discarded/lost gear. This provides them with information that they pass on to some of Ghost Fishing UK partners in their campaign. Heriot Watt university in Orkney has been a major backer and all-round font of knowledge.
Secondly, we have strict protocols around removing nets etc from the seabed. The main thrust of these protocols is safety. This is achieved through team diving and a nothing is worth getting hurt for approach.
Once the gear is removed, what happens then?
Once the gear has been safely removed the first thing they do is, see if it is in good order, if it is then they try to trace the owner and give it back to them therefor re using the items and removing the need to replace with new.
If the gear is old and damaged, Ghost Fishing UK, look to recycle most of the gear, they have several people / businesses who love their smelly old fishing gear. They use it to make some amazing things, in the past the gear has ended up being turned into carpets, clothing, door mats, plant pots and clothes pegs the list is endless. They also work closely with companies that are hoping in the near future will be able to recycle most of the stuff they remove from the sea.
What is in it for Ghost Fishing UK?
There is the big question!!!!
I am sure if you ask all the team, that very question, the answers will be the same.
To try and make a difference. Us humans as a species are making a mess of this planet and if everyone can do something to help then I think we should.
All members of Ghost Fishing UK, do this because they care!
Here is an estimate of what a typical weekend costs these guys and gals.
What is the cost?
A typical weekend will cost somewhere in the region of £3000.
Boat fees for 2 days £1000
Fuel to get divers to the dive site and back £50.
Accommodation £50 a night.
Gass to do the dives £ 50 for 2 days.
Food etc £30.
The fuel, accommodation, Gass and Food is on an individual bases, so each diver will spend an average of £180 of their own money to do a weekend Ghost Fishing event.
Usually on one event, the group size is about 12 divers, dependant on the size of the boat.
Between the team it would cost them anything from £2,160 before the boat hire.
As a charity they are always looking for sponsors to help lessen the costs for the team, which this can help in so many ways, for example boat hire for the weekend, disposal of gear that is old and damaged, new gear and equipment to aid them in releasing the gear easier and safer.
Now onto the exciting bit of GHOST FISHING UK, and our weekend spent with them.
Over the course of the 2 days, Ghost Fishing UK team members, dived to depths of upto 33 metres where the Glanmire wreck lies.
The Glanmire has been visited on several occasions by Ghost Fishing UK team members so they will say this has been a thorn in the side for their northern team, due to thick steel reinforced ropes running through the trawl net that was entangled in the bow section. The team performed 3 dives and cut free a monster haul of 124kg of net and an old lobster creel.
A great big well done and thank you to the team-
Pete Ellwood, for whom is SPI Piling Ltd, Piling Manager.
Garry Dallas, this was Garry’s first project after recently completing the Ghost Fishing UK course.
SPI Piling being 1 sponsor, seeing this achievement was an honour, and not forgetting Divestay for their support.
Here are some of ours and their photos taken from the weekend.
Video of the team tackling these nets Click Here
If you would like to read more on Ghost Fishing UK, please check out their website or if you would like to send them a donation you can do this via their website.
All donations are gratefully received, no matter how big or small, LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
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