GHOST nets are fishing nets abandoned at sea, lost accidentally or deliberately discarded. They are death traps for marine life as they are unattended and free roaming, continuously fishing unmanned and indiscriminately.
Between 2004 and 2009, GhostNets Australia rangers removed and recorded 6,035 nets of varying sizes along approximately 1500km of north Australian coastline. The data was collated into a summary report, demonstrating that the accumulation of nets occcured in certain hotspots, located in the north-eastern and north-western regions of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Matching the net types found by GhostNets Australia team members, with samples compiled in the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Net Kit, makes apparent that the most frequently recorded nets found in Gulf waters were trawl nets originating in Taiwan and Indonesia.
The GhostNets Australia five year records show nets found contained fish, crabs, sharks, sea snakes, crocodiles, dugong and more than 100 turtles. Unfortunately, the true number of animals that die in nets is suspected to be significantly higher reflected by current records.
The report is found on GhostNets Australia website: http://www.ghostnets.com.au/