Local divers helping to clean up Pembrokeshire
Published: Friday 18th Sep 2015
Written by: Anita Lee
To keep the Pembrokeshire coast alive and vibrant, there is an active volunteer organisation that scours the area for rubbish and discarded fishing equipment – under the water.
Celebrating its 10th year, Neptune's Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC) have been working to improve underwater conditions. They trawl the water – most recently in an effort to clear the area of long-lost lobster pots. They estimate more than 20,000 lobster pots have been lost in Wales during winter storms.
So far this year, the group has removed over 70 unused pots from the area.
"It is great to be making close links with local fishermen who are able to tell us where their gear was last sighted,” said NARC chairman David Kennard to the BBC. “Giving us a chance to dive, locate and bring it back to the surface."
The efforts by NARC have been funded by the welfare charity World Animal Protection. Speaking on behalf of the group, Christina Dixon, from World Animal Protection, said it was supporting the dive as part of its Sea Change campaign to get rid of "ghost fishing gear".
The group said the clearing of marine litter had a "significant impact" on the sustainability of local fisheries and biodiversity. The benefits of their hard work are reaped by the many tourists who enjoy the area’s natural beauty. One of the most treasured locales in the UK, Pembrokeshire holiday cottages offer an amazing escape for all.
The group chronicles its salvage work on its website. Over the summer, they worked through the debris of a shipwreck, cleaned in the Skomer Marine Conservation Zone, and dove for rubbish off St Anne’s Head. The group works in pairs, with divers descending into the water with scissors, rubbish bags and collection trays. For nearly an hour, they scour the area for rubbish.
In the past, they have pulled up mobile phones, shopping trolleys, push bikes, office chairs, skate boards and car batteries. Once they even recovered a kitchen sink. In searching for discarded fishing gear, they also remove recreational fishing equipment like weights, rods, hooks and endless amounts of line.
Image Credit: glynniqua (flickr.com)