Strandloper Project

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Read about our Ghost fishing awareness program and other environmental educational and research on our Blog

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Strandloper Project
Finding a solution for recreational fishing pollution

 

Dive crew

 

Combating Ocean Degradation.

 

As the impact of human activities on the environment percolates from research to public discussion there has been a global focus on the degradation of marine environments. Plastic pollution has galvanized public focus, initiating mass action to reduce consumption of single use plastics and implement reusable alternatives.
Hidden in the discussion is the fact that over 40% of plastic pollution in the oceans is composed of lost fishing gear. Sadly lost and abandoned fishing continues to ‘fish’ and is able to catch marine animals in a process known as Ghost Fishing.

 

Ghost Fishing Research.

 

Though attention and research is focused on commercial fishing activities, little research has been conducted on the contribution that snagged recreational shoreline fishing tackle makes to ghost fishing.

To address the impact of recreational fishing on biodiversity the Strandloper Project is studying ghost fishing and reef damage caused by shore based activities. More

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Research Objectives.

Initially the objective of the Strandloper Project was to clean up snagged recreational fishing tackle from the reef at Gericke's Point.

From our intitial clean up we soon realized the extent of the problem and the threat to marine biodiversity that the the snagged tackle posed.

Ghost Fishing.

The array of rigs that included steel tracers, floating hooks and the incredible lengths of lost fishing line, we set out to research ghost fishing, reef damage and entanglements caused by it.

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Cleaning up the Reef

Research Sites.

Based in the Garden Route, South Africa, our clean up dive program is arranged on a volunteer basis with dives scheduled when sea and weather conditions are ideal.

All diving is free diving in depths of 2m to 8m. To date we have dived on three site which have become regular transects.

Transect Sites.

We currently dive at Gericke's Point, Paquita Wreck and in Kingfisher Creek with plans to extend to Plettenberg Bay and Mossel Bay.

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Coastal Expedition

Coastal Monitoring.

In May 2019 six members of the Strandloper Project hiked between Blombos Nature Reserve and Wilderness in the Garden Route.

During the 11 day hike along the coastline the team mapped fishing debris and plastic pollution.

It was a remarkable expedition through the origins of human cognitive thought as they hiked ancient routes hiked by Strandlopers up to 164,000 years ago.

On the route their research highlighted the challenge of plastic pollution and ghost fishing from lost fishing gear in the Garden Route.

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