In the second half of December 2018 we conducted a dive to remove snagged fishing tackle from a transect on the eastern reef at Gericke’s Point.
The primary purpose of the dive was to establish a baseline of snagged fishing for a comparison for a followup dive after the holiday season and the potential of ghost fishing from the tackle.
Ghost Fishing is the indiscriminate capture and death of a species by lost or discarded fishing gear.
In the dive we recovered 44 sinkers and 6 scrap metal sinkers from a 100m transect. We also found a small Hammerhead Shark that died from injuries caused by being foul hooked in the gills.
Sinkers from sports fishermen snag on the reef around Gericke’s Point leaving an easily accessible baited hook to ghost fish
While the impact of Ghost Fishing is well researched for commercial fishing. Unfortunately little research has been done to determine the contribution of recreational fishing. From a series of dives in the Garden Route we have managed to show that recreational fishing does indeed contribute to ghost fishing.
A sample of snagged fishing tackle recovered from one 100m transect at Gericke’s Point.
We have also been able to distinguish between sports fishermen and sustainable fishers with preliminary indications that snagged fishing tackle from sports fishermen contributes to ghost fishing.
A Pajama Shark, one of the species recovered from snagged fishing tackle in the transect at Gericke’s Point.
Species so far recovered from ghost fishing from recreational snagged fishing tackle include White Mussel Cracker, Pajama Shark, Sea Barbel, Dusky Cob, Black Tail and Hammerhead Shark.
Recovered tackle of sports fishing tackle from the transect is 2.3 sinker/m and 2 hooks/m.
Estimates are that a lost baited hook has the potential of ghost fishing up to 10 fish before it rusts.
From our planned followup dive at the end of January we will be able to determine the contribution of holiday season recreational fishing to ghost fishing at Gericke’s Point.