The task was carried out by an experienced team of six Ghost Fishing UK divers, using the boat Outcast from Aquanauts Dive Centre, skippered by Dougie Allen.

Working in poor visibility, the team carried out four dives to remove monofilament netting from the stern and a mass of nylon net from the bow of the JEL.

“The monofilament on the James Eagan Layne is no longer a hazard to divers or wildlife, while the bow is a much tidier place without the netting blowing in the swell,” stated Ghost Fishing UK later.

The divers had surveyed the wreck the previous week, releasing entangled spider and edible crabs in the process.

“We hoped they would not return to the nets, and luckily they had stayed well away, to enable us to cut away the netting from the wreckage and send it to the surface,” said Ghost Fishing UK’s Secretary Christine Grosart. She said that the netting was found to have begun to damage the wreck in places.

The bags of ghost gear were returned to Plymouth Fisheries, and will be recycled into Econyl yarn, which is then turned into sustainable textiles such as carpets.

Representatives from project co-ordinator Healthy Seas and partners Aquafil, which makes Econyl, and carpet-manufacturer Milliken joined Ghost Divers on the dive-boat.

“The Healthy Seas initiative is really exciting, because it brings together a whole range of stakeholders and because it is solution-based,” said Veronika Mikos of Healthy Seas on the day.

“According to a new report, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the seas and oceans than fish. We have to work hard against it, not to let it happen. Today again, we made an important step in that direction."

Find out more about Ghost Fishing UK here.

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