How to Save the Planet: #1 Coral Reef Rescue

Mission: Locate, unweave, slice & remove old lost fishing nets that have somehow made themselves onto the coral reef.

After eyeing up the tangled knot of mess with much deliberation, myself and two colleagues took to the edge of the house fringing reef at Pantai Melina, Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. Originally attached to a large ‘bommie’ structure, parts of the net were sliced off from any attached live coral and tied with a buoy ready for disentanglement the following day.

However this became more problematic as the overnight changing tides caused the structure to fall from the bommie and weave itself into a large bed of Staghorn Coral (Genus: Acropora). The photographs shown detail the net after the first removal attempt.

Equipment Required: 

  • Snorkle, Mask & Fins
  •  Dive Knife
  • Several Roped Buoys
  • Kayak
  • 3 Keen Biologists
  •  Under Water Camera (for proof..)

Removal Process:

Taking turns with our single dive knife, we duck dived and sliced at the iniquitous net, progressively pulling it upwards. Rope attached to various buoys were attached to the net providing lift, with certain buoys being tied and weaved through the sides at the bottom of the entanglement, eventually providing buoyancy on areas in which detachment was required underneath. Finally the net was free’d and with the help of several buoys, the giant knot was towed with a two man kayak to a safer depth, eventually carrying it via a boating channel to the beach.

Once rescued, it was noticed that three live crabs had been held captive for at least 3 days. After cutting them out, two were released, unfortunately the other had lost all of it’s legs and so was conscientiously put out of its misery.

Despite the near failures: kayak capsize whilst being towed, death by jellyfish etc. our first attempt at saving the planet was somewhat successful..

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