Stqarrija bil-Malti Agħfas Hawn / Press Release in Maltese Click Here

Ghost nets recovered from Heritage Malta’s submerged sites have been upcycled into bracelets and keychains, thanks to a collaboration between the German company Bracenet and Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit (UCHU).

In 2020, the UCHU, in collaboration with the local ATLAM Subaqua Club, initiated a number of net removal dives. To date, four protected wreck sites have been cleared of ghost gear – a Junkers JU88, HMS Nasturtium, HMS Southwold bow, and the B24 Liberator.

Over the past few months, the UCHU has been in contact with Bracenet, a company which upcycles and recycles ghost gear into different items and which welcomed UCHU’s invitation to collaborate. Recovered nets were then sent to Germany from Malta to be upcycled. The resulting products may be viewed here:

Ghost gear – abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear – constitutes around 10% of the plastic waste that enters the world’s oceans and seas every year. In addition, it is estimated that around 70% of all floating macro-plastics are made up of ghost gear. The danger in this type of waste is its material durability and buoyancy, persisting in the marine environment for decades. Historic wreck sites act as catchment areas for discarded fishing gear, entangling and damaging historic remains and marine life. The threat is also there to visiting divers, often unaware of the dangers of ghost gear.

In recent years there has been a growing awareness on the threats posed by ghost gear. Several grassroot initiatives, both locally and internationally, have targeted this problem. In Malta, the presence of ghost gear on historic wreck sites has been noted in diver surveys, prompting Heritage Malta to initiate its long-term net removal project.

More net removal dives are planned by the UCHU for the coming months.

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