Ghost Net Koh Tao
Fishing nets that are lost or discarded by fishing boats become a significant entanglement risk for reef fish living nearby. Nets that settle on reefs can also cause large scale damage to coral structures and other benthic organisms (organisms living on reef substrates). Fish that become entangled in abandoned or discarded nets often attract predators to feed on them, increasing the likelihood of the predatory fish also becoming entangled. In addition to these immediate risks, nets that have settled over a substrate for a long duration of time may also prevent certain types of corals from growing in that area.

A number of submerged pinnacle reefs can be found surrounding the island of Koh Tao, some of which exist in deeper waters, several kilometres offshore. These deeper pinnacles commonly attract large schools of pelagic fish, and as a result, often experience fishing nearby.

On occasions, fishing nets may become entangled when fishing occurs in close proximity to submerged pinnacle reefs. The Roctopus ecoTrust conduct monitoring of deeper areas around the perimeter of submerged pinnacles. These are areas where nets may have been trawled over reef substrates, causing nets to become entangled. These areas are also less commonly dived during recreational dive training and so discarded nets are less likely to be seen or removed. Regular monitoring ensures the Roctopus ecoTrust team can deliver a rapid response in freeing entangled marine organisms and conducting net removals where required, minimising the time window in which significant damage may occur.

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