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Read about our Ghost fishing awareness program and other environmental educational and research on our Blog site at : Chasing Windmills and Sunbeams.

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Snagged tackle

SUP Tours.

Explore the Garden Route waterways on a SUP tour.

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Baseline Nature Surveys
Citizen Science to save future biodiversity.


Rock Cod


Protecting Marine Biodiversity.

In keeping with our ethos of environmental education, Garden Route Trail has initiated a program of environment awareness. A topic close to our interests is ocean pollution and in particular ghost fishing.


Ghost Fishing

Cleaning up the Reef.

The Garden Route boasts over 200km of coastline with a scenic mix of sandy beaches and rocky shores hosting many bays and reefs waiting to be explored.

This coastline, like the rest of the South African coastline is popular with recreational fishers for shore based surf fishing.

Gericke's PointSadly, particularly along the rocky shoreline, a substantial amount of fishing tackle is lost on a regular basis as it snags on the rocks beneath the surface. While the loss of fishing tackle has an impact on the aesthetics for snorklers and free divers, it has a far harsher consequence on the ecology than most people realize.

Ghost Fishing.

Ghost fishing is defined as the ability for lost fishing gear to continue catching and killing fish. Most of the research on ghost fishing focuses on the impact of industrial fishing, such as trawling and long lining, when gear is lost with little attention or research placed on the impact of recreational surf fishing. Research has shown that a snagged fishing hook has the latent ability to 'ghost fish' up to 10 fish before it disintegrates. The ramifications on inshore fishing stocks is severe.

Free dive

Citizen Science.

In a duel purpose project, Garden Route Trail has initiated a clean up dive program to remove snagged fishing tackle from popular fishing site between Knysna and Mossel Bay. The primary goal of the clean up dives is to raise awareness of the threat of ghost fishing posed by recreational fishing. The secondary goal is to collect data to quantify the amount tackle lost and work towards an estimate of the contribution to ghost fishing that this fishery poses to inshore fish populations.



Volunteer and Support

Strandloper Project.

From our initial clean up dive in January 2018, it was apparent that we could develop a valuable data base of snagged recreational fishing tackle from our efforts.

We created the Strandloper Project, a research program to record information on accumalation rates, reef damage, entanglements and ghost fishing.

Volunteer Program.

Currently our clean up dive program is arranged on a volunteer basis with dives scheduled when sea and weather conditions are ideal.

All diving is free diving in depths of 2m to 8m. To date we have dived on three site which have become regular transects.

We currently dive at Gericke's Point, Paquita Wreck and in Kingfisher Creek.



During diving the recovered fishing tackle is placed in a bucket which is attached to an inner tube and anchored.

After each dive the collected snagged fishing tackle is photographed, counted and the sinkers weighed and the data correlated to the respective transect. Records are also made of any dead fish found caught on the snagged fishing tackle.

We have been fortunate to have received sponsorship for some of our equipment, but would like to grow the clean up program and ultimately formalize an interest group to develop an awareness program of the contribution of recreational fishing to ghost fishing.

ReefIn October 2019 we plan to start with a series of talks to schools and interest groups on ghost fishing and the debris of recreational fishing on the Garden Route.

If you would like to contribute to the clean up program or would like to have our team talk at your school or society, please contact Mark by email.

If you would like to join us on a dive, follow our Face Book page and look out for the posted events.

Contributions can be made via PayPal and we will soon have a crowd funding program.

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