Keep Ghost Nets Away from Our Ocean: Penghu, NKUST Ocean Saving Volunteer Training Program
Release Date 27 June 2022 Updated Date 5 July 2022 PM 02:30 Mandarin
Removing marine debris is not an easy task but still a must-to-do mission to save our marine ecosystems. Penghu County Government (PCG) has collaborated with NKUST Marine Affairs Research Center to remove abandoned fishing nets from nearby waters since 2018.
The University established a comprehensive program to train its volunteers and staff working on marine debris removal projects. This year, the Center added two additional classes, CoralWatch chart assessment, and underwater photography skills, into the program, expecting to attract more save-ocean lovers to join their projects and make Penghu a sustainable island.
To fulfill the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, every country around the world is continuously promoting the concepts and taking action. To align its work with global action, PCG has collaborated with NKUST for four years to remove abandoned fishing nets (or called ghost nets) and devised volunteer training programs. The mission of these programs is to cultivate more talents with experience removing ghost nets and form a team of Ghost Nets Busters.
PCG has been working hard to remove deadly ghost nets from the ocean for years, making it the champion county that removed the largest number of ghost nets in the nation.
“We aim to cultivate more ghost nets cleaner, promote the concept of ocean conservation to fishermen, and educate students on campuses. We hope our efforts can reach our mission goals of marine debris removal and prevention.”
“As of this year, these programs have helped PCG remove more than 300,000 meters of abandoned fishing nets, but we still have a lot more under the water. Thus, we aim to cultivate more ghost nets cleaner, promote the concept of ocean conservation to fishermen, and educate students on campuses. We hope our efforts can reach our mission goals of marine debris removal and prevention,” says County Magistrate Lai, Feng-Wei (賴峰偉).
PCG and NKUST both well know that cleanups do nothing to tackle the root of the problem, as human beings continue discarding waste, leaving it under the ocean for volunteers to remove. Possible ways forward would be for both organizations to continue marine debris removal projects, divers training, and educating people to protect our ocean planet.
“We believe only by raising people’s awareness can we see them voluntarily learn to collect and remove derelict fishing gear in the ocean. However, it does take time to train divers...”
MARC Director Liu, Wen-Hong (劉文宏) stresses: “We believe only by raising people’s awareness can we see them voluntarily learn to collect and remove derelict fishing gear in the ocean. However, it does take time to train divers with the right knowledge of marine debris and protect themselves while removing debris.”
Facing such difficulties, the University has no fear but to open more workshops with fishermen to improve their knowledge of ocean conservation. In this year’s training program, CoralWatch chart assessment and underwater photograph classes are added, so new trainees can learn what good impact have been made by their predecessors and know that their efforts can help fight marine debris.
In addition, the Center works with Associate Professor Mimi Liu (劉仲倫) of Feng Chia University to open a Ghost Nets Buster Theater Workshop.
“In response to the SDG 14 Life Below Water, we devised a toy theater that used ghost nets as the main idea, giving new meanings and value to art performances on ocean conservation,” says Assoc. Prof. Mimi Liu, who is also a theater direct of Open Theater Group.
The workshop invited local elementary school students to learn how to create their own play. Students have to make their theater background in a box and also one or two dolls as actors for the play.
The Center has recorded a radio theater for this workshop, so students can perform their show about ocean-protecting angels in the box theater with the recorded sound to promote the concept of saving the ocean.
NKUST Ocean Saving Volunteer Training Program (or called the Ghost Nets Busters Program) is open for residents of Penghu Island to register before June 26, and the program begins from July 7 to 9.
**Open enrollment for the program is over earlier due to too many applicants applying and the compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures.**
REMINDER: Since trainees will have to remove ghost nets underwater, the risk of these tasks and the safety of all trainees concern us.
Thus, applicants must be certified scuba divers with PADI Open Water (OW) Diver certification and have done many dives, which accumulated around 20 hours (approximately 20 scuba tanks). Or applicants must be with PADI Advanced Open Water (AOW) Diver certification and have experience in boat diving and deep diving.
Translated/Edited by Jess Lin