Cape Town was recently visited by the MV Arctic Sunrise, one of the three iconic ships in the Greenpeace fleet famous for its involvement in protest action against commercial whaling and oil drilling in critical marine environments. Now, the Arctic Sunrise is part of Greenpeace's Pole-to-Pole world tour, rallying support for the UN's Global Oceans Treaty, which will protect 30% of the world's oceans by 2030 if ratified.
The Greenpeace team met up with Two Oceans Aquarium Curator Maryke Musson and Conservation Coordinator Talitha Noble to learn about Anette the loggerhead turtle - a turtle that was caught in a ghost fishing net at the same time as a Cape fur seal. The seal was lucky to escape this encounter relatively unharmed, but Anette the turtle is still recovering - months later and her appetite has yet to return and she is still in need of constant veterinary care at the Aquarium's rehabilitation facility.
These two animals owe their lives to a combination of luck and heroic efforts of their NSRI rescuers, but for millions of other animals, ghost fishing gear is a deadly encounter:
What exactly is ghost fishing? This occurs when lost or purposefully dumped fishing gear continues to kill sea animals long after the end of its intended use. This gear includes items like nets, ropes, longlines, fishing crates, fish traps and aggregation devices and are capable of entangling and killing animals like fish, seabirds, whales and seals for decades.
This is not a small problem. It is estimated that as much as 46% of all plastic in the ocean is abandoned fishing gear, responsible for 70% of all marine animal entanglements.
By sharing Anette's story, both we and Greenpeace hope to inspire everyday people to take action for the preservation and protection of our ocean. You can do this by showing your support for the UN Global Oceans Treaty - add your name to the growing list of supporters.