Protecting Our Oceans from Ghost Traps


– Roughly every year,
(pleasant piano music) 360,000 tons of fishing
gear is lost in the water. Even though they’re abandoned, they are still catching animals,
and I was always appalled that nobody was doing anything about ’em. – [Man] There is a lot
of good organisms here. (reflective piano music) – My name is Kurt Lieber. I’m the President and Founder
of Ocean Defenders Alliance. We get volunteer divers
(splashing) to remove abandoned
commercial fishing gear. So all the nets, traps, and
lines that are out there that are still killing animals, that’s what we focus on removing. Typically, in a year, we will have 10 to 12 whale entanglements
from this fishing gear. Over the last four years,
that number has climbed from 12, roughly, to 72,
so it’s getting worse. (moves into curious bouncy music) Our main focus are
abandoned lobster traps. These lobster traps and crab traps have lines attached to ’em, and the line has a surface marker buoy
that goes to the surface. And a boat comes along and cuts that, or it gets moved around in the storms and the fishermen can’t find it. They don’t leave ’em behind
just for no good reason. – [Man] Be prepared to move
fast if I need to push us off. – Our expeditions are pretty
chaotic, I’d have to say. We start out early in the
morning with, usually six divers. It’s really difficult
to locate these traps, ’cause obviously you can’t
see through the water. It’s like a hunt and peck kind of a thing, and it’s not cost effective. But when you’re talkin’ about life, does it matter if it’s
cost effective or not? Not in my eyes. I get ’em out to a site
and we drop anchor. (splashing) Say they come across a trap. They attach a lift bag to it. The lift bag then goes to the surface. – [Man] Comin’ up to the surface. – With the trap attached to it, and then we put it on the hoist. – [Man] Clear! (murmuring) (moves into energetic orchestral music) – The oceans have been really
decimated over our lifetime. I’m a fighter. I’ll go down fighting, and most of my volunteers
feel the same way. I don’t know if I’m
making a big difference in the overall scope
of worldwide problems. You can only tackle so much in your life, and I’m doin’ what I can personally. When you get down there and see the impact that you’re making locally,
that’s what keeps us going. (echoing sonic ding)

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