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GILNET FOUND

Tourist discovers gillnets in marine reserve

Last Friday, 450 feet of gillnets were found in the Gladden Split and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. Trapped in the gillnets were a variety of species, including sharks, groupers, and snappers. Julia Oney, one of the divers that found the nets, recounted her experience.

Last Friday, 450 feet of gillnets were found in the Gladden Split and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. Trapped in the gillnets were a variety of species, including sharks, groupers, and snappers. Julia Oney, one of the divers that found the nets, recounted her experience. According to her, she was on a tour with her son-in-law, a dive master and their boat captain. Oney and her dive master were at the North Wall site around 10am when the descended down to about 50 feet. It was then that she noticed the nets with the dead fishes and sharks. Oney stated that the gillnet was as far as she could see to her left and right, and suspended only about 10 to 15 feet from the bottom. About every 20 to 30 feet was a dead marine animal, majority of which were reef sharks. The dive master, the captain, and Oney’s son-in-law all helped to pull up the net. Oney described the site as unbelievable, stating that some of the sharks were completely tangled in the nets. They worked to free the dead animals. The nets were even caught up on some corals and needed to be untangled. After all the nets were out the water, the group went to where the park ranger was and alerted them of their findings. At the dock, two SEA rangers and two members of the Coast Guard watched as they pulled the animals and netting out the boat. As previously mentioned, one net was 400 feet long and the other was 50 feet long. Oney stated that the experience was emotional and disheartening. As a diver, she felt pain at the site of all the dead marine animals. She stated that it is an experience that she won’t soon forget.