According to recent study, ghost nets (abandoned, lost or dumped fishing nets) have emerged as the greatest killers of the marine ecosystem off Kerala coast.
These ghost notes may have long-term implications for marine life if no proper correctives are taken to deal with them. It may become major threat to the natural habitat and breeding ground of underwater fish.
Ghost nets have destroyed or threatened many of the underwater reefs identified with flourishing fish stock because of its ‘stifling cover’. Globally, it is estimated that at least 10% of the reduced fish catch can be blamed on ghost nets, some of which have survived deep underwater for decades together.
There are four types of ghost nets that infest the bottom of the seas. The first are the large fishing vessels that stray into the territorial waters and deploy large nets. These nets get caught in underwater reefs, forcing the fishing vessel to abandon them before leaving the territorial waters.
The second type of ghost nets are smaller and are used by fishermen, but are cut off by a passing vessel. They too drift at the bottom of the ocean floor and get attached to the rough features there. The third type of ghost nets are those that get caught in violent currents and swivel down to the ocean floor, where they get stuck. The fourth type are ghost nets are those which get abandoned at sea after three or four uses. These nets remain under water for decades if not centuries.