Two tonne ghost net found in the Gulf of Carpentaria now destined to be Indigenous artworks

Joint media release from the Australian Fisheries Management Authority and Parks Australia

A large ghost net has been removed from the Gulf of Carpentaria near Weipa, in Queensland, in a joint operation between the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and Parks Australia.

The gillnet, weighing 2.1 tonnes, or more than the weight of a four-door family car, is believed to have come from a foreign fishing vessel and drifted into the Gulf from waters north of Australia.

Ghost nets are lost, abandoned or otherwise discarded fishing nets that drift across oceans, posing a risk to marine life, safe navigation and ecosystems.

The ghost net contained a number of dead marine species, including two sand crabs and a whaler shark, along with live bream that were released.

The ghost net was brought ashore and donated to the Pormpuraaw Art Centre, in Far North Queensland, where it will be turned into Indigenous art.

AFMA’s General Manager of Fisheries Operations, Peter Venslovas highlighted the importance of removing ghost nets from Australian waters.

“Ghost nets drifting in Australian waters can kill our marine life and be a danger to vessels, so it’s paramount they’re removed quickly,” Mr Venslovas said.

“Working with various art centres in northern Australia to recycle the ghost nets into art, continues to be one way AFMA can raise awareness around marine debris.”

Parks Australia Head of Marine Protected Areas Jason Mundy said managing and removing threats to Australian Marine Parks was a high priority.

“Ghost nets can be over 100 metres long and drift into some of our most sensitive marine habitats,” Mr Mundy said.

“Removing these nets is important for the protection of marine species and the safety of those who work and enjoy our marine environment.”

More information on how AFMA is committed to protecting the marine environment can be found at afma.gov.au.

For more information about Australian Marine Parks visit parksaustralia.gov.au/marine.