A kindhearted diver has saved a turtle in distress after it became entangled in a ‘ghost fishing net’.
The beautiful Olive Ridley sea turtle had become entrapped in an abandoned fishing net, but fortunately found a friend in this diver; who refused to give up on the little guy.
Incredible footage taken off the Gan coast in the Maldives, captures the diver in a race against time to free the vulnerable turtle.
The diver’s care and commitment paid off and he was eventually able to cut the small turtle free from the net. Once able to do so, the turtle took off into the deep blue of the ocean, free to enjoy more undersea adventures.
The heroic diver later said:
The turtle was found on the surface of the net with its flipper entangled in ghost gear.
We quickly got to work and removed the net from the turtle.
When the turtle was free from the main net we noticed it still had fragment attached on the flipper but we managed to remove these too.
Many people have been deeply moved by the diver’s determination to free the turtle, with others left saddened by this upsetting reminder of how ‘ghost fishing’ – where fishing nets are lost, dumped or abandoned at sea – can prove harmful to turtles.
One person said:
We should all feel and show gratitude. I love turtles .Thank you for saving this turtle. He certainly acknowledged the human who saved his life. Animals are more intelligent than most people realize.
We destroy nature at a devastating pace it’s a shame [on] us.
Sadly, this turtle’s ordeal is far from an isolated incident. In August 2018, over 300 Olive Ridley sea turtles were discovered dead after becoming tangled up in a fishing net off the Oaxaca coast in Mexico.
The turtles’ shells had become cracked after having spent over a week in the sun while caught up in the net. Many had suffered injuries which appeared to have been caused by fishing hooks and nets.
According to a study from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the issue of ‘ghost fishing’ is worsening due to ‘increased scale of global fishing operations and the introduction of highly durable fishing gear made of long-lasting synthetic materials’:
The report estimates that abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear in the oceans makes up around 10 percent (640 000 tonnes) of all marine litter. Merchant shipping is the primary source on the open sea, land-based sources are the predominate cause of marine debris in coastal areas.
Most fishing gear is not deliberately discarded but is lost in storms or strong currents or results from “gear conflicts,” for example, fishing with nets in areas where bottom-traps that can entangle them are already deployed.
Find out more about the issue of ghost fishing here and find out what you can do to help.
Well done to this diver for taking the time to save this turtle’s life.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.