Fire / Feu

fantômes du
Canada -
Toute forme
de vie prend
fin ici !

La tuerie futile du
poisson de fond
continue à chaque
année au Canada
et elle est tout à
fait ignorée. Il
que les humains
soient témoins de
la perte injustifiable
de rorquals à
bosse et de
baleines noires,
mais des filets
maillants ne
cessent d'être
perdus à chaque

Nous continuons à
ignorer le fait que
certains attirails de
pêche traditionnels
sont sécuritaires,
alors que d'autres
sont comme une
maladie terrible :
un cancer hideux
injecté dans ces
fragiles. Un de ces
filets, à lui seul,
peut tuer
littéralement des
milliers de petits et
grands organismes

Pendant que des
millions de filets
surpêchent le
poisson de fond de
l'Atlantique du
nord-ouest, des
dizaines de millions
de filets fantômes,
tue poissons,
oiseaux et
phoques. On doit
réaliser le non sens
de cette avidité
barbare qui se
fonde sur la
technologie de la



(photo: COHPS)

Many flatfishes such as skate, halibut, flounder and sole are needlessly wasted while many people in the world at the same time go hungry.










ghost net

A plastic drift net that has been abandoned by a fishing boat and
that entangles
and kills fish,
porpoises seabirds, and other marine life.

Ref: American Heritage Dictionary

Ghostnets of Canada -
All life stops here!

Derek Jones
Canadian Ocean Habitat Protection Society
October 2002

hile feeding along the bottom of Brown's Bank, a medium size cod makes the mistake of not paying attention, and runs into a ghost net. The ten year old, twenty pound fish has had several close calls before, but this time the monofilament meshes have slipped past its gill slits. The instinctive rolling motion has now snared the entire body of the fish from head to tail. The confused cod stops the struggle and sees the glow of bones from the ghostnet's past victims, even in the near total darkness of 130 fathoms or 780 feet.

Canadian cod fish lucky enough to break free from
a ghostnet, are often killed long after the encounter
by being inflicted with a ghostweb. The growth of
the fish causes the indestructible monofilament
meshes to eventually cut it's heart in two.

(photo: Derek Jones)

Several young hake stop to investigate the new activity within their section of ghostnet, comprised of 18 separate nets each measuring 50 metres long, tied together as one string. Indestructible plastic floats fixed to the top lines of the nets raise the webs, while the weights attached to the lead lines hold the bottom part down. A single strand can lift 100 pounds. Snarls of rope and monofilament netting make huge abstract wings that are suspended out to the sides, perfect for killing sharks, porpoise and whales. Three skates swim along the "curtain of death" looking for a spot to safely pass under. Two of the skates pass through a small hole between the lead line and a small bolder, but the third gets caught while trying to keep up. The entire body of the young male skate immediately becomes wrapped up, like a piece of balled-up newspaper.

The medium size cod soon has company as another cod finds itself entangled in the ghostnet. With the strong tides that encircle Brown's Bank, it surely doesn't pay to feed close to a ghostnet and the younger cod finds out the hard way. The larger cod gives another valiant effort to squirm free of the invisible web (that has no business being there in the first place) to no avail.

The hair-like plants and bryozoans encrusting the ghostnet reveal that it has been killing ocean inhabitants for several years. Some of the rotting corpses are too far gone to be recognized, while the skeletons of dogfish, wolffish, and sharks can still be distinguished. The endless supply of easy to eat flesh attracts crabs, hermit crabs and lobsters from miles around. They too become an endless supply of easy to eat flesh for the next in line. The cycle of death goes on and on and on for species like crab, lobster and cod. Some lobsters totally engulfed by monofilament, shoot their claws to escape while many younger lobsters are doomed as they are yet to adopt this survival instinct.

The ghostnet soon becomes tight and starts to twitch; it scores big again as a blackfish becomes entangled in the upper parts of the net. The violent thrashing of the medium sized whale changes the entire shape of the ghostnet as the powerful beast shrieks while it desperately tries to break free. More cod, dogfish, haddock and even several halibut have been attracted to the debris that is being released from the net by the action. Two other blackfish make another deep dive to stand by their family member, hoping that a miracle happens and the young whale is able to free itself. The last hour of the whale's life can only be one of absolute horror and the ultimate in suffering.

A ghostnet with lophelia, or stone coral in it.

(photo: Derek Jones)

The larger cod is slowly being strangled by the web, but somehow the younger cod can still breathe, even though the webs are around its throat. Dozens of sea stars of several species have started moving toward the two cod that are not dead yet. As the larger cod takes its last breath and stiffens out, sand fleas begin to swarm. They strip the flesh from the cod's body, and the once valuable codfish is only skin and bones a week later. The hake and sea stars are nibbling at the mostly devoured carcass of the once majestic blackfish that was obviously ravished by the bottom feeding black sharks. The smaller cod's struggle finally pays off as it swims freely with several webs still around its neck. The meshes that were cut by rubbing against the rocks will still kill the cod after a couple of years, and will hinder its feeding too.

Along the ocean floor, the rotting biomass of fish, bones and dead bottom organisms has created a toxic stew, which dissolves every living bottom critter in the immediate area of the ghostnet. The cloud bellowing out from the indistinguishable, unconscionable mass of lines and web is too rancid even for scavenger species, who also must avoid the area or smother. Scavengers move on to investigate other nets, which will no doubt present freshly killed marine victims.

(photo: COHPS)

Canada has unfortunately all but banned longline
gear - which clean up ghostnets like this one from
George's Bank, N.S. Ghostnets containing
hundreds of dead and dying marine organisms
contaminate the entire North West Atlantic Ocean
and must be cleaned up.


After several more weeks of the ghostnet killing literally thousands of large and small marine organisms, the net becomes entangled in an otter-trawl and is dragged for three miles. It was torn from its natural anchorage by the power of the drag ship and cleaned of its contents. At this point, the killing would be over, but the fish dragger crew, that has its own problems, throws the ghostnet back.,. The ghostnet settles back to the bottom, where it starts out by killing marine creatures totally vulnerable by being permanently affixed to the substrate. The tidal currents and the motion of the struggling recent victims causes the ghostnet to literally saw off sponges and coldwater corals of unknown reefs. The soft corals and very colourful but strange looking bubblegum trees are instantly chewed up by the killnet, while the hard red tree corals are broken up by the forces pulling on the nets. The harder corals act as support, spreading the invisible webs out like a spider's web to snare even more unsuspecting prey. The ghostnet is pushed and pulled by the tide, exposing many smaller shellfish species, mollusk and worms, who were once protected by living under the bottom. The continuous grinding and twisting causes a portion of the net to break free. Eerily, it floats along with the tide, looking for victims of its own…

Canadian ghostnets can kill the smallest of
marine creatures as well as the great whales.
Canada uses an iron fist to mindlessly enforce
property rights quotas while ignoring all
credible marine and fisheries sciences.

(photo: COHPS)

The needless killing of groundfish in Canada each year goes on continually and totally unacknowledged. Humans do occasionally witness the needless killing of humpback and right whales, but more gillnets are still lost each year. Too bad we fail to recognize that some traditional types of fishing gears are safe, while others are a terrible disease - a hideous cancer injected into these fragile ecosystems. The already devastated commercial ground fisheries of the North West Atlantic have such low quotas that this gear technology is, in fact, just not necessary.

Let us not let the death of another intelligent marine creature go without notice! Canada, unfortunately, still only enforces quotas that are granted to a lucky few humans, while the monstrosity containing the 18 commercial groundfish bottom gillnets is still killing. Millions of commercial groundfish gillnets plague the North West Atlantic, while tens of millions of ghost-webs kill fish, birds and seals on an individual basis.

We humans cannot appreciate the incredible pain suffered by innocent, intelligent marine animals. We must realize the senselessness of this barbaric, greed-based fishing technology. Its already becoming too late…

Visit the website of the:
     Canadian Ocean Habitat Protection Society (COHPS)