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Eddystone Gill Net Retrieval

Updated: Aug 9, 2019

4th August 2018

Matt Slater from the Cornwall Wildlife Trust contacted us this week about a snagged gill net on the Eddystone reef. A concerned fisherman from the River Yealm contacted him to say the net had just been snagged by a larger Plymouth fishing vessel and could someone try and remove it as it posed a serious threat to wildlife in the area including the seals frequently seen there.

We went out today with snorkelling kits and a kayak from Odyssey Innovation Ltd to do an above water survey and possible retrieval.

Fortunately the conditions were good and we met some students from the UBUC - University of Bristol Underwater Club out diving. They had collected a large piece of the nylon net already and we decided to try a retrieval, clearing pieces from the bottom of the old lighthouse where it was stuck to the wall and rocks like a cobweb.

A huge net also stretched right across the reef under water and was difficult to remove but eventually it was freed and we hope we took out the majority, if not all of it. The snorkellers gave the area a good look over and couldn’t see any more.

Unfortunately the net was full of wildlife, we removed 19 edible and spider crabs, mostly alive. Sadly a large conger eel was dead, along with at least a dozen wrasse and a mackerel. (Videos were taken) The Bristol divers were really keen to help us untangle some of the wWildlife. Thanks to them for all their help.

The net will be recycled through Odyssey Innovation Ltd

We are grateful to World Animal Protection and the Morrison’s Foundation for giving us a grant to help further our ghost gear work.

All in all it was a very satisfying day getting this dreadful net out of the sea and to top the day we saw lots of gannets and some dolphins on the way home. Fantastic ! 👍

World Animal Protection UK Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust Ocean Recovery Project BeachCare

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