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A team of divers to protect oceans

140 kg of ghost nets removed from the seabed of Lampi Marine National Park

Six divers, thirteen sites surveyed within ten days of mission in the northern waters of Lampi, the main island of the only Marine Park in Myanmar. The Ocean clean-up campaign, promoted by Istituto Oikos in collaboration with Myanmar Ocean Project in Tanintharyi Region, ended the 26th December 2019: our staff and four expert divers joined the team and came back to Kawthaung with 140 kg of ghost nets removed from the seabed. The same amount was removed from other areas of the Park during the previous mission in March 2019.
Abandoned fishing nets represents a serious threat to marine and terrestrial ecosystems, affecting also the human communities that relies on marine natural resources. Ghost nets removal is essential to guarantee survival to oceans and wellness to local communities. With the support of a researcher from Aberdeen University (Scotland), one aerial drone and one underwater drone were used to locate sites with a bigger concentration of ghost nets, such as areas close to villages and the ones most attended by fishermen. Despite the big fishing pressure, the survey revealed that corals in those sites have a good conservation status.
One site in particular required a bigger effort: three consecutive divings were needed to completely remove a huge net of 50 m of length. We had a great satisfaction going back to the area surveyed during the previous mission – Mikel Serrano, marine biologist and manager of Lampi Visitor Centre, comments – and finding out the effectiveness of the removals occurred in March. Thanks also to the stop of fishing activities during the rainy season, we did not find any new nets. Moreover, the strong current stocked the old nets in skein that were easier to remove”.
Beside the field activities to effectively clean the ocean floor of the Park, Istituto Oikos continues carrying out awareness campaigns for local communities focusing on the importance of protecting local natural resources.
The mission is within the frame of STAR Project, funded by the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development.

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