For this Netherlands-based charity a very special set of unique skills, along with passion, are required.
And according to founder Pascal van Erp, “It is very important to show the world how big the problem is that we are talking about.” “There are lots of nets out in the oceans.”
Each dive costs between $2,000 and $2,700. Thus far the group’s only source of support has come from the Dutch government: $530,400 from a pool created by the sale of lottery tickets.
Pascal leads a team of 30 to 40 volunteer divers in the North Sea. His group coordinates and works with a loosely integrated network of like-minded divers around the world. “In the last three years, we have made 100 dives and removed 10 tons of fishing gear from the sea,” he says. The nets are then recycled into socks and other textiles.
Their efforts are both difficult and dangerous. “It’s the most difficult type of diving I’ve ever done,” says Heather Hamza, one of roughly 50 volunteer divers who make up Los Angeles Underwater Explorers a Ghost Fishing affiliated group.
Volunteers encounter a number of dangerous hazards including low visibility, the possibility of getting tangled themselves and most of all being catapulted to the surface too quickly by the lift bags they used to get the nets to the surface. This can result in illness or even death. As a result the southern California affiliate only solicits help from advanced divers with military-like training.
To learn more visit http://www.globalunderwaterexplorers.org/ , where you can also shop at their store to support them or visit http://www.ghostfishing.org/