ALMOST 200kg of deadly fishing gear has been recovered from the seabed off the coast of Brighton.

Scuba divers reported the discarded fishing nets found on a shipwreck, which can harm marine life and lead to more plastic pollution.

Known as "ghost gear", lost or abandoned nets and pots mean animals can become trapped and act as bait for other creatures, leading to a "non-stop cycle of wasteful deaths", according to Ghost Fishing UK.

The charity aims to prevent "ghost fishing" and has teamed up with Sussex Wildlife Trust to remove ghost gear in the area, as part of the Wild Coast Sussex project.

The Argus:

Volunteer divers collected the netting, which has now been stored at Brighton Marina for recycling.

It is the second mission the team has undertaken in Sussex this year, following several reports by of lost nets fouling the wrecks in the area, causing a hazard not just to scuba divers themselves, but to wildlife along the coastline.

The divers have been able to recover 275kg of lost nets in just three dives, working across 18 metres of water.

Nikki Hills, project manager for the Wild Coast Sussex scheme, said: "Removing this net is so important because if left, it can trap precious marine wildlife and add to plastic in the sea.

“It was fantastic to join the Ghost Fishing UK team on a trip to recover ghost nets and see first-hand the dedicated work of the divers and the amount of net they managed to remove.

"The Wild Coast Sussex project is really pleased to support the work of Ghost Fishing UK and it’s great to have them in Sussex.”

The netting was retrieved from the SS Pentyrch, a cargo steam ship which torpedoed in 1918.

The Argus: The Channel Diver boat used by volunteers. Photos: Ghost Fishing UKThe Channel Diver boat used by volunteers. Photos: Ghost Fishing UK

As a lot of the wreckage is still protruding from the seabed, fishing nets can get snagged and continue to trap fish until they can be removed.

Trustee and underwater photographer for Ghost Fishing UK, Christine Grosart said: “We are very grateful for the reports from divers about these nets.

"We are also very keen to work with the fishing industry to get these unfortunate losses, which are not deliberate, back out of the sea.

"We would urge fishermen to tell us if they have lost any pots or nets so that we can see if it is possible for us to remove and then recycle them, or in some cases return them, keeping them out of the ocean forever.

"We are soon launching a reporting system dedicated for fishermen so that they can report losses to us in confidence.”

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