"Its a huge problem because as they are initially set to trap and kill marine wildlife, they will do that for as long as they are in the oceans," Greenpeace Africas campaigner Bukelwa Nzimande, 29, told AFP." Such pollution kills and injures more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles annually, according to UK-based charity World Animal Protection.More than 300 endangered sea turtles were killed in a single incident last year after swimming into a was believed to be a discarded fishing net in southern Mexico. "We are a thousand miles off the coast of South Africa and finding abandoned fishing gear here. Bottom fishing was banned on Mount Vema in 2007 by PVC sheets the Namibia-based South East Atlantic Fishing Organisation."Nobody takes out the catch, but its still catching..He pulled it up to the deck of the Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace vessel conducting research around Mount Vema, an underwater mountain located around 1,600 kilometres (almost 1,000 miles) northwest of Cape Town.
Known as "ghost gear", abandoned fishing objects make up a significant volume of plastic pollution in seas and oceans around the world and can trap large marine wildlife, causing them slow, painful deaths. The United Nations estimates that 640,000 tonnes of fishing equipment is discarded around the oceans each year, the weight equivalent of 50,000 double-decker buses, said Greenpeace.Plastic can take up to 600 years to break down, eventually disintegrating into harmful micro-particles that are ingested by fish and end up in peoples food. But only one percent of the worlds oceans are covered by regional management bodies like SEAFO.But "in some specific ocean areas, fishing gear makes up the vast majority of plastic rubbish, including over 85 percent of the rubbish on the seafloor on seamounts and ocean ridges," as well as in the Great Pacific gyre, a Greenpeace report said Wednesday. "(Ghost gear) is like a zombie in the water," Maack said. Images showed a scattered array of fishing ropes and nets clinging to the 4,600-metre (15,000 foot) mountain, whose peak sits 26 metres below the surface.