Buoy to Protect Ocean-Life

During a routine clean-up by the non-profit Tangaroa Blue, GPS-tracking buoys were found washed up on Australian beaches. These buoys, manufactured in Spain by Satlink, were discovered in large numbers on the Cape York coast near Australia’s northeastern tip.

Instead of discarding them as e-waste, Tangaroa Blue founder Heidi Tait secured permission from Satlink to repurpose the buoys for tracking ‘ghost nets’—abandoned fishing nets that drift through the ocean, trapping sea life. These nets, often left behind after snagging on reefs or being displaced by weather, pose a significant threat to marine life and require specialized equipment to remove.

Tait organized a coalition of Australian mariners, including national park staff, Indigenous rangers, commercial fishermen, and charter boats, to use the buoys for tracking these ghost nets. By attaching a buoy to a found net, they can be precisely located and retrieved.

Project ReCon, a collaboration between Satlink, Tangaroa Blue, and around 100 commercial fishing vessels, aims to address this issue. Supported by The Nature Conservancy and The Pacific Community, the project has expanded to eight countries. As a result, Tait and her coalition have already removed three ghost nets, including one over 3 metric tons, and a 150-foot-long mooring rope.

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