A local diver to Brixham (Peter Glanvill) highlighted this major and persistent problem to us about decades of monofilament fishing line that has formed matted bundles on the sea floor due to the area being a popular fishing area. So we decided to take a road trip and spend the weekend at Brixham to help out, collect some debris and help raise more awareness of ghost gear.
We were told of a lovely friendly campsite close to the dive site called Upton Manor Farm and found this very true. A couple of members stayed over Friday evening while several more arrived throughout Saturday.
Early Saturday morning we made our way to the harbour. We were met by Baz from Brixham Dive Shack and Skipper Warwick Saunders from Nautilus Dive Charters who gave up their time to help us dive the two sites.
The dive on the Saturday was Hopes Nose where lots of anglers gather to fish. Warwick had kindly left some notices up the day before to advise local anglers that several divers would be diving and to ideally not fish there for a few hours while we were there to avoid divers being accidently snagged by fishing line and hooks.
So we loaded up the Rib (5 divers and 1 support person) and had a very comprehensive safety brief along with whereabouts in Hopes Nose we will be diving. The weather was slightly overcast but the sea was flat. It took approx 15 mins to reach the site. There was a lot less anglers than normal so Warwick’s notices seemed to have helped, but a couple of anglers were still onsite. However they kindly moved for the hour or so we would be there.
So in we go, 5 Fathoms Free divers and it took only seconds to find recent debris and ghost gear. A couple of live spider crabs were found with fishing line wrapped around them, this was gently removed and both scurried off to carry on there lives (no-idea how long they have been wrapped up in the fishing line). After an hour we all surfaced and loaded up the Rib with our findings into a dumpy bag where we then came back to harbour to unload and analyse the debris.
So what do we retrieve… (Saturday)
72.91kg of debris removed in a one hour dive.
42.75kg of this was lead weights cut out of the fishing line (421 of them), the rest was made up of fishing line (thousands of pieces, to many to count), one plastic bottle, drink cans, cloth and plastic food wrappers.
The fishing lead was given to Baz/Warwick to be recycled. Plastic/Drinks cans and any metal were taken home to also be recycled.
After cooking tea on the BBQ’s, a few evening drinkies and chatting as the sun sets before heading off to bed.
Sunday morning came around way too soon, but time to setup the bbq’s again and cook some breakfast before going back to the Harbour to dive Breakwater Beach.
Warwick joined us on this shore dive whilst Baz gave us the lowdown on what to look for. 7 divers for the shore dive and 2 support (Anita and Zillah) did a beach clean.
A large lobster was found tangled up quite badly in fishing line and did not seem very lively. After gently removing the line
So what did we retrieve… (Sunday)
10.04kg of debris removed from sea in 1h 20m dive.
8.4kg of this was lead weights cut from the fishing line, the rest was made of golf ball, cloth, glass and fishing line plus lures.
10.76kg of debris, the beach itself was very clean; but there was a lot of the debris around the marina and in the rock pools towards the sea swimming pool.
As normal, all data is provided/uploaded to Project Aware
So a huge thank you to Baz and Warwick for the help/knowledge and time for the weekend and for everyone that helped namely Rob, Anita, John, Zillah, Natalia, Adie and Emma.