South Florida divers discover deadly 'ghost net' floating near Palm Beach coral reef

Divers find dead lobster, fish, shark tangled

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. -- - Floating aimlessly and stretching the length of a football field, divers off the coast of Palm Beach made a deadly discovery when they found a nearly 1,000 pound commercial fishing net.

"Nets in the water are a death trap," said Nikole Ordway.

Ordway and several other divers managed to pull in what they call a "ghost net" just as it was headed toward a fragile coral reef.

"Yeah, it might be one net, but that's a whole ecosystem it can wipe out," said Ordway.

The "ghost net" is just one example of the marine debris problem according to Ordway. She said ocean trash is everywhere.
"I mean there are so many people that do care, but then there are so many more that don't understand the impact they make," said Ordway.

Aluminum cans, plastic bags and all sorts of trash were found within minutes when Ordway took a dive off of the Blue Heron Bridge Tuesday.

"A lot of these ghost nets or derelict nets can drift for years," said Ed Tichenor of Palm Beach County Reef Rescue.
In that time, Tichenor said the debris can kills sharks, lobsters and wipe out entire sections of coral reef.

"If the fish aren't there, then we don't have any diving and we don't have tourism and nobody is going to come here to hang out," said Ordway.

Divers said the only way to truly fix the marine debris problem is if everyone who goes into the ocean picks up after themselves.

Print this article Back to Top