Fathoms Free

Grant awarded - £334.90

Fathoms Free is a group of volunteer marine conservationists whose main focus is the removal of marine debris including Ghost Fishing Gear. They conduct underwater litter picks, remove abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), conduct beach cleans and take part in public awareness events. They work alongside several other organisations and are partially funded by World Animal Protection and Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI).  

Fathoms Free have raised funds to buy a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) which enables them to carry out underwater retrievals and beach cleans of otherwise inaccessible coves.  Sea-Changers funding covered the cost of four new life jackets and an offshore flare pack for use by the RIB's crew.

Fathoms Free plan to remove ALDFG from a minimum of 12 identified sites that require boat access and divers for their removal. These sites have various types of ALDFG which is having a negative impact on a range of different habitats. In addition, Fathoms Free plan to undertake 12 above-shoreline ALDFG retrievals from hard to reach coves and beaches using the RIB for access. These places can create the worst impact of ALDFG as their inaccessible nature means that ghost gear can remain on them for extended periods of time and their sheltered, undisturbed nature tends to mean they are popular spots for wildlife. 


On the Fathoms Free RIB launch day from Penzance on 8th April 2017 the team was able to use the RIB (and the newly purchased safety equipment) to visit the “Conqueror” ship wreck which had lots of old fishing net attached to her. A lot of this net has now been retrieved making that sea area a lot safer for marine wildlife. The BBC was with them on the day to film/document the event.  
Additional sites will be visited over the next 3 years to remove more ALDFG.

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