GhostNetBusters
June 23, 2005 8:36 PM   Subscribe

The Ghost Nets: A New Kind of Pollution What happens when a fishing boat loses a net on the high seas? No longer made of biodegradeable materials, these nets (which can be up to a mile long) drift freely through the oceans like needles in a haystack, trapping marine life and damaging coral reefs. Now a team of NOAA working on the GhostNet 2005 project has developed a computer model to help identify convergence zones and locate these floating threats so cleanup can ensue. [Link to audio of NPR story about the project here]
posted by Dr. Zira (8 comments total)

 
Ugh. Sounds like a real-life Katamari Damacy. Anyone know if they're trying to prevent these nets from getting loose in the first place?
posted by mhh5 at 10:42 PM on June 23, 2005


"New" is subjective, I've been aware of them for several years
posted by edgeways at 11:52 PM on June 23, 2005


Anyone know if they're trying to prevent these nets from getting loose in the first place?

Considering that they start at about $30K each and it comes out of the crews wages they generally try not to to lose them. However this is hardly a new problem: floating gear has been a problem for years. Not to mention all the lost crab pots sitting on the ocean floor, many of them still fishing away.

Floating trash gathers in the center of ocean gyres and many hotspots are known to exist. Tracking nets is a decent idea but will only address a tiny bit of the problem.
posted by fshgrl at 12:59 AM on June 24, 2005


I read quite a bit about these in the (surprisingly interesting!) book Cod. Until the book, I had no clue that such a problem even existed. So I'm very glad to see a clean-up attempt.
posted by smeger at 2:02 AM on June 24, 2005


And the cleanup cost should be equally divided among those who profit most with the least risk from the existence of way too durable nets..I guess fish merchants and final resellers are those who see more money per lost net.
posted by elpapacito at 2:31 AM on June 24, 2005


ok. for $30K a pop, you'd think they could afford a GPS device attached to the nets. -- just call onStar and they'll pick up the nets while they unlock your doors.
posted by mhh5 at 3:20 AM on June 24, 2005


SVG viewer required for semi-functional maps. Project pages are mostly just placeholders.
posted by 3.2.3 at 12:17 PM on June 24, 2005


for $30K a pop, you'd think they could afford a GPS device attached to the nets

It's not that simple though, gear is often lost due to weather or tears into pieces or it sinks after it's lost and the GPS has to be on the surface to transmit. Plus the ocean is pretty big: people lose entire boats all the time.
posted by fshgrl at 4:05 PM on June 24, 2005


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