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What are Ghost Nets?


The Ghost Below exhibit gets its name from fishing nets that are lost or discarded at sea by the fishing industry and left to float aimlessly in the oceans for a lifetime. Forever.

Judith Richard Lang, Ghost Below, ocean trash, marine mammal center
Netting collected from the Pacific Gyre by members of Project Kaisei
© The Marine Mammal Center

It is estimated that ghost nets account for approximately 10% of all marine debris. Birds, fish, crabs, turtles, dolphins and thousands of marine mammals get caught in this deadly, silent floating debris in what is called “ghost fishing.”  And every year over 100,000 marine mammals die from the harmful effects of plastic, fishing nets, and trash in our oceans.

Ghost nets, like ocean trash, climate change and noise pollution, are largely unseen from our shorelines or the ocean’s surface lurking beneath the waves, haunting and hurting all marine life; collectively we call these haunting dangers The Ghost Below. But it's not just hurting them, it's hurting us too.

Many of the seals and sea lions we rescue each year are found suffering from ingestion of, or entanglement in, ocean trash, and many more are affected by diseases and problems that are indirectly caused by detrimental human activity. But there is hope. That hope exists in all of us - it's our willingness to learn, our ability to change, and our capacity to care and conserve this one Earth.

Return to The Ghost Below Art Exhibit Main Page.


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