In conjunction with Knysna Basin Project, Strandloper Project volunteers conducted a clean up dive to remove lost and snagged recreational fishing gear on the eastern side of the channel flanking the Paquita Wreck.
The planned clean up dive along the reef on the eastern side of the channel, extended from a cove south of the wreck to the northern edge of the wreck.
Despite clear signage demarcating the area as a no fishing zone, sadly it is continuously fished by all LSM groups, both from the shoreline and boat.
The combination of the strong currents and the gradually shelving channel provides an ideal feeding ground for a variety of estuarine and oceanic fish species which aggregate over the wreck and along the reef in the adjacent coves.
As the tides change, particularly at the start of the outgoing tide, the fish aggregate, ready to feed on the detritus and nutrients flushed out of the estuary, making this section of the shoreline a popular fishing location.
Sublime Dive Conditions
Notorious for sketchy ocean conditions, planning a dive in the the channel at the Knysna Heads has to take into account tide, viz, wind and temperature to make it worthwhile. With 8m viz, 17Deg C and no swell, we could have not asked for better conditions for our clean up dive.
Free divers entered through the arch south of the East Head Cafe and focused on the immediate cove, while SCUBA divers entered from the NSRI slipway and headed to the channel north of the wreck.
Monster Haul of Monofilament
In over four years of reef clean up dives at Gericke’s Point and in the Knysna Heads, this is the largest haul of monofilament.
What is interesting to note is that almost 50% of the snagging occurred as a result of tackle snagging on existing snagged tackle.
The rest of the snagging, common to this section of reef, is caused when a hook embeds in to a red bait and the fishermen breaks the line off. While this reduces the incidences of ghost fishing, it does result in high amounts of monofilament being lost.
I would like to extend a huge thank to everybody for helping with the cleanup efforts on this clean up dive. Sadly, we have plenty more to do, one dive at a time.
For more information on the impact that snagged recreational fishing tackle has on reef biodiversity and productivity, visit our Strandloper Project website.