International marine conservation organizations have removed over 23.5 tonnes of waste, including 25 large fish farm nets and equipment, from the depths of the sea around the Greek Ionian island of Ithaca.
Volunteer divers from the United Kingdom, Greece, Lebanon, Hungary and the Netherlands cleaned up the sea in the last two weeks to protect marine life.
Local fishermen also helped with the clean-up ahead of World Oceans Day on June 8, which is an international event that raises awareness about the effects of human activities on the ocean.
Abandoned fishing nets or so-called ghost nets trap and kill many marine animals. Divers pulled out the long, heavy nets from beneath the sand on the seabed.
A boat with a crane lifted the nets to the surface and placed them into containers. Textile company Aquafil will recycle the nets into yarn that will be used to make products such as clothing and carpets.
Most of the waste was left behind by a fish farm that closed, according to environmental organization Healthy Seas, which organized the sea clean-up with the international non-profit group Ghost Diving.
Every year, around 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or abandoned annually in seas and oceans, Healthy Seas said in a statement.
Last year, Healthy Seas and Ghost Diving removed 76 tonnes of waste from the sea around Ithaca in 8 days. They made a shot documentary of the clean-up.
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