Deep Ecology

"The Future of Diving"

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Located on the north shore of Oahu
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Ecological Achievements

Save Sharks Cove | 36 Turtle Rescues | Ghost Net Recoveries | All Achievements (listed chronologically) | Endorsements

Ghost Net Recoveries (10 underwater to date)

Ghost Net Recovery #11
August 18, 2001
Waialua Beach, North Shore Oahu

We received a report of a Ghost Net on August 17th by two of our return customers and set forth plans to recover the net the next day.  It is worth mentioning that these customers (Spencer & Dave) said they never would have thought to report the net to a dive shop but because of our Ghost Net sculpture at the back of our shop they did think to tell us.  Along with the help of other customers (Peter, Thad & Jonathan) we pulled out approximately 150-200 feet of net in 8-20 feet of water.  Substantial damage had already occurred to the reef, but not nearly as much as would have with time..  I (Ken) was able to save one small crab.  Until we get some legitimate conservation measures in place here, I know that this sort of direct action will continue to be necessary.

Ghost Net Recovery #10
May 29th, 2001
Hammerheads, North Shore, Oahu
This recovery was conducted because of a report and request from a State of Hawaii Marine Enforcement Officer.  We thank him for the information.  The net was approximately 100 feet in length and had already done a lot of damage.  Who knows how much life had already been lost before the removal.  The recovery took place in about 10 feet of water and lasted about 45 minutes.  Thanks to Greg and Catherine for their help.  We saved one Convict Tang and several crabs and lobsters.  

Ghost Net Recovery #9
May 26th, 2001
Haleiwa Harbor Entrance, North Shore, Oahu
Captain Chris Lolley spotted this net as we were returning from a boat dive and we immediately conducted the recovery in 10-15 feet of water.  Thanks to Harbor Master Paul's approval as this area is a dangerous place for divers.  Recovery took about 30 minutes and one 7-11 Crab was saved.  Once again this net had already done much damage by ripping up coral heads.  Total length of the net was approximately 75 feet.  Thank you to our customer Robert for his help in water and for the rest of you on the boat.  Barbara, watch out for those crabs!

Ghost Net Recovery #5
July 25th, 1999
Maile Point, West Side Oahu
We returned with a smaller dive team, but with the same results. After two postponements by the other divers we went forward with this overdue recovery. Approximately 200 feet of net recovered with one crab released from the net to live another day. On both dives recovering this net we sighted Hammerhead Sharks on our ascent. In a way we like to think it was their way of giving consent and thanks to our efforts.

Ghost Net Recovery #4
June 12, 1999
Maile Point, West Side Oahu
Acting in information given to me by a friend and customer we found out that a ghost net was sighted in the summer of 1998 by other divers. This net was in 180-200 feet of water and was reportedly at least 500 feet long. After having contacted the principal diver who knew of the net I requested we go retrieve it. This was in December 1998 and it was clear he was not interested in "others getting the credit" Even though he had known about this net for at least 5 months. With some coercion we set up a joint team of divers, three from Deep Ecology, two from his team. All of us were trained decompression divers and qualified to do the potentially dangerous net recovery. Despite our differences in motivation the dive went extremely well and approximately 200-250 feet of net were recovered on a dive of just over 60 minutes to 185 feet. The job was not done however and plans were made for the team to dive again. See Ghost Net Recovery #5.

Ghost Net Recovery # 3
February 1999
Chinaman's Hat, East Side Oahu
On a tip from Michael, a customer and Sea Shepherd supporter we were off to remove our next ghost net. This net was in only 8 foot of water but had already ripped up dozens of coral heads. With great effort we were able to lift the massive ball of net and debris onto kayaks and paddle it to shore. This process took over two hours. In removing this net we had to use tremendous care not to further damage the reef. Sometimes however it is virtually impossible not do some damage.

Ghost Net Recovery #2
December 26, 1998
Electric Beach, West Side Oahu
The day after Christmas 1998 will stand out in my mind as one of the most aggravating and most gratifying days I have ever had. This net had been abandoned at one of Oahu's most popular shore dives and sighted by our instructor, Dan Morse. Deep Ecology staff found the net which spanned over 100 ft wrapped over countless coral heads and entangling two Goatfish, two scrawled Filefish, a Moorish Idol, Spiny Lobster, Crab and a Spiny Puffer fish. All but one fish could be saved and the entire process was documented on video and still photography. It took six divers over an hour to remove this net, which had done substantial damage to coral. The ignorance and blatant disregard for human and marine life that the individuals responsible for this net exhibit is in my mind indefensible. In the Hawaiian culture this type of disregard would be a clear threat to the society as a whole and Hawaiians of past were killed for less.

Ghost Net Recovery #1
Feb 1998
Makua Beach, West Side Oahu
While conducting a tour of Makua dive site with customers, we found an approximately 100-150 ft long lay net which was recently abandoned. The net was in an area frequented daily by Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins and also home to Green Sea Turtles and countless reef fish. This net had anchored itself, as they typically do, by wrapping around coral heads. In this process many coral heads are ripped off the reef, destroying homes to many marine species. This job was too dangerous to conduct with customers. So the decision was made to return the following day. Upon returning the next day we released two crabs that had become entangled. I never like to leave these nets for fear that more life will be needlessly lost so I was glad that nothing had apparently died in the last 20 hours. Chris Barboza, Senior Instructor and myself would do the net removal while two safety divers observed. Darrel and Pete documented and observed while Chris and I went through the arduous task of removal. We nearly needed a second tank, as we were both very low on air by the time we had managed to walk this ghost net the 150 yards to shore along the bottom. We actually balled up the net as best we could, removed our fins, put the weight of the net on our backs and walked it in. Very slowly, I might add. After completing the removal I realized just how angry I felt that people simply abandoned nets. But at the same time, it felt good to know that we had made a difference. In real terms we had saved life, whether it was dolphins, turtles, reef fish, coral heads, etc. We undoubtedly had saved life. Little did we know that this was the beginning our formal "Direct Action Policy"

Net Sculpture
October 1998
Deep Ecology Shop
Growing frustration with the amount of marine debris we were able to easily collect on our regular beach cleanups, we decided to put this debris to good use. Instead of simply throwing it away, we created a frame to build on. This "Net Sculpture" continues to grow and serves once again to remind us of the ever-increasing problems our oceans are encountering. This monument to human waste has become a landmark in itself and people now stop to take pictures and look in awe at how much we have collected in such a short period of time. Our hope is in doing this we can raise awareness enough to get policies changed to decrease the problem and eventually eliminate it.


©1999 Deep Ecology and North Shore Diving Headquarters