‘Ghost nets’ finally being removed from Puget Sound

It seems like $4.6 million is a lot of money for removing abandoned fishing nets from the waters of Puget Sound. But I bet most people would agree that it would be great to get rid of 90 percent of the nets still submerged and killing marine life.

<em>Twila Dawn Captain Steve Sigo (right) and First Mate Aaron Leschi (left) help diver Jake Johnston suit up for his dive at Apple Tree Cove near Kingston on Thursday, when the crew brought up an abandoned fishing net. </em><br><small>Kitsap Sun photo by Meegan M. Reid</small>
Twila Dawn Captain Steve Sigo (right) and First Mate Aaron Leschi (left) help diver Jake Johnston suit up for his dive at Apple Tree Cove near Kingston on Thursday, when the crew brought up an abandoned fishing net.
Kitsap Sun photo by Meegan M. Reid

Kitsap Sun reporter Tara Garcia Mathewson was on a boat Thursday, watching divers bring up a net in Apple Tree Cove near Kingston. See the story she wrote for today’s Kitsap Sun as well as a video.

Ray Frederick of Kitsap Poggie Club first informed me about “ghost nets” more than a decade ago. At the time, officials were just becoming aware about how much damage the nets can do. But, when it came to money, it wasn’t a high priority. State officials were reluctant to allow volunteers to do much, in part because they worried about people’s safety, or so they said. There also seemed to be a concern about using robotic equipment to yank up the nets, because it could harm sea life and undersea habitat where the nets were wrapped around rocks.

Now, with federal stimulus dollars, professional divers are on the job with a goal of removing 3,000 nets before the end of next year. If I’ve done the math correctly, we’re talking about a little more than $1,500 for each net.

For perspective on the history, see stories I wrote for the Kitsap Sun in May of 2000 and in June of 2002.

One thought on “‘Ghost nets’ finally being removed from Puget Sound

  1. Nice article in the Kitsap Sun. One correction: the article said 30,000 birds, 110,000 fish and 2,000,000 invertebrates have been captured in the derelict nets over the past 30 years. Actually, those numbers reflect the amoung of animals captured EACH YEAR that the 3,000 derelict nets remain in Puget Sound.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please complete the prompt below.

Please enter the word MILK here: