Protect a wreck (Netherlands)

There are thousands of shipwrecks lying on the bottom of the North Sea. These wrecks serve as nurseries for different species that are important for the biodiversity of the North Sea. In addition, wrecks serve as diving spots and fishing spots for the gillnet fisherman and anglers. Fishing nearby the wrecks often leads to the nets being hooked on the wrecks and torn apart, which causes ‘ghost-fishing’. As a consequence, anglers often lose their fishing gear because it gets stuck in the ghost-nets. Some gear is made of lead (Pb), which is an important pollutant in the sea.

Project “Protect a wreck” has initiated cooperation between volunteer divers, nature organizations and the anglers association from The Netherlands. Within the project, divers clean the shipwrecks from nets and fishing gear. Material alternatives to lead are being tested and the first models are sold in the angler shops. Photographers and filmmakers are involved in the project, which shows the large scale of the problem to the general public and stakeholders. It further lobbies for the better protection of the wrecks.

The challenge in the project next year is to look for ways to recycle all the fishing nets collected.


Place / Location Netherlands
Commencement Date January 2011
Duration Ongoing (until December 2013)
Theme Mitigation, Awareness (Cross-cutting)
Type of Initiative Campaign, Practice/ Activity/ Action
Initiated by EUCC, Sportvisserij Nederland (Dutch Angler Association) Stichting de Noordzee (Northsea Foundation), Duik de Noordzee schoon (foundation of divers that clean the schipwrecks)

Involved Stakeholders

Gillnet fisherman, anglers, divers, salvagers, politicians, policy makers, nature organisations, Dutch Government
Funding/Financial Support Yes, by the National Postcode Lottery
Success Rate Very successful
Case Study prepared by

EUCC projectleaders Pascal van Erp & Mike Mannaart,
Submitted by

Lotte Kauffman, EUCC

Patrycja Czerniak, EUCC

Available documentation and further information

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