Who is Betty G?
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
Wreck diving isn’t really my thing.
I do it for sure, but I would always much rather be in a cave.
Ghost Fishing UK had a report on a wreck out in Lyme bay in about 48 metres of water and the skipper of Scimitar had seen it come up on the sonar and had dropped in to have a look. There was not only a small wreck slightly tipped on its side, but a huge net adorning it, complete with buoys. It was not on the maps and had not been identified.
We made a plan to go and document it with the intention of removing the net the following day.
Once on the wreck, it wasn’t long before the team were able to rub away the brown crud to reveal the wreck’s name. Possibly the easiest identification of a wreck ever!
It was a small trawler that had fallen over with her nets out and sank. Everyone survived and we had a discussion about what to do next. We planned to report it to the receiver of wreck and the weather killed our plans to go back and recover the large trawl.
Plan B was formed and the Ghost Fishing UK team headed to a reported gill net which was lost and strung out in Portland harbour.
I was on the camera as usual and the net was well disguised in weed and was actively catching.
We documented a dead diving bird that had drowned in it, several spider crabs hopelessly tangled and at various stages of death, plus the classic image of ghost fishing – a fish that was stuck half way through it, dead.
We recovered the net, which was no easy task and the team excelled in the skills we had taught them. One diver got a piece of equipment caught up in the fine strands of net, despite being dressed in a streamlined manner. His teammate signalled him to stop immediately and sorted the problem.
The smell from the dead and dying animals made several of the team wretch as we pulled the net on board.
A camera guy from BBC Spotlight came on board to film proceedings and we also managed a radio interview too. It was great to get the message of the Ghost Fishing issue out there in such a short space of time and very satisfying to remove a net that had been causing so much harm. It will now be sent to Aquafil in Slovenia to be upcycled into a new material for re-use thanks to the support of environmental initiative, Healthy Seas.