Studies suggest that half of the plastic in the ocean is composed of discarded fishing gear… 🎏🌊🎣
One person who knows all too well about the damage plastics cause to our sea-life is Chris, who's joined Worthing Beach Office for the summer season.
In a special story for World Oceans Day, Chris shares how the smallest of contributions from us can make the biggest of differences to our friends at sea…
Hi, I'm Chris Warren, a Seasonal Safety Boat Operator at the Beach Office.
My background is in conservation science. I have a degree in Conservation Biology and previously worked for an organisation called Sea Shepherd as a bridge officer where we patrolled the Vaquita Refuge in Mexico, pulling up illegal gillnets and catching poachers in the act with the assistance of the Mexican Navy.
Studies suggest that half of the plastic in the ocean is composed of discarded fishing gear. This ghost gear floats freely around our oceans, wrapping around itself until it ends up a ball of skeletal mass as diverse as the life in our oceans.
Off the coast of Mexico I've pulled up dozens of illegal nets containing everything from turtle skeletons to decomposing dolphins, but no matter what you find it never gets easier to witness.
By far the hardest to witness was a decomposing leatherback turtle. It's buoyancy held the entire anchored net in suspension. The smell was unbearable as we approached, and we could feel what must have been an agonising experience for this beautiful animal. As we cut the final piece of net from around its neck the turtle inflated, we felt it catch the final breath it had struggled so desperately to catch, the way I describe it is – the soul finally left the animal. The shell opened up, staining the sea red.
Here on Worthing beach on World Ocean Day (8th June) we found several nets adrift. One with several dead dogfish, and the other predominantly spider crabs. The dogfish had very little chance of survival, but the crabs certainly seemed relieved to be free. I expected a pinch, but they were extremely docile after continuously wrapping their legs up in the net until it took us a very long time to disentangle.
Ultimately, these animals want to stay alive as much as you or I, and so for them our efforts literally mean the world. It is an incredibly satisfying feeling, and makes a big difference to the safety and future of our oceans.
We massively appreciate the help from the two members of the general public who called in the net and assisted in the disentanglement.