Giant Fishing Gear “Ball” Removed from Maine Waters

Divers have located and removed a massive “ball” of tangled fishing gear that has accumulated over the years off Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

The so-called “ghost gear”—much of it lobster traps, nets, and line—is lost during storms and collects in a colossal mass that ensnares ever more gear each year. Eventually, it becomes a hazard to navigation and marine life.

According to the Portland Press Herald, an estimated 640,000 tons of fishing gear are lost in the world’s oceans each year, including some 175,000 lobster traps in the Gulf of Maine alone. Lobster traps left on the ocean floor can continue to capture and kill crustaceans and fish after being lost. Plus, the massive balls of gear can scour the bottom of vegetation, thereby depleting natural habitat.