"Ghost Net Detective"


Ghost nets are typically abandoned fishing gear that continue to catch fish only to damage the environment and waste marine life. The Ghost Net Detective is a WWF Hong Kong Programme and Scoutbots / MakerBay developed a GPS tagging device to be operated by divers to accurately report the position of ghost nets.

MakerBay developed a simple and affordable diving computer for tagging ghost nets for a WWF Hong Kong campaign in the summer of 2019. Special thanks to Eddie Yung, Ken Chew, Jacky Chu. The text below is from the WWF campaign page: ghost_gear_detective.

Join our underwater investigation programme!

Seasoned divers in Hong Kong are well aware that significant amounts of marine litter exist underwater. “Ghost gear”, which includes abandoned fishing gear nets, pots, lines and hooks, are in the top 10 list of most commonly founded marine litter in Hong Kong, according to the 2016 Coastal Watch marine litter survey. These gears kill marine life; with sharks, turtles, fish and birds dying from net entanglement, drowning, suffocation and other fatal injuries.Over the past 10 years, few scientific studies have assessed the state of ghost gear in Hong Kong waters. That is why we want to enlist the help of local divers to provide more data that will contribute to the development of Hong Kong’s fisheries and waste management.

Programme Details

“ECF Sea Without Litter II - Ghost Gear Detective” is a citizen science programme that turns your ghost gear sightings into a baseline survey. The programme will train participants how to collect scientific ghost gear data with just a few steps added to your dives. Data compiled will be referenced by professional team for later retrieval. Not only will your contribution help our diving environment, the data will also be uploaded to an international online ghost gear database, which will help in the development of fisheries and waste management. The programme includes seminars, dive training and programme-sharing with WWF-Hong Kong providing participants with a set of survey toolkit. We will discuss the ecological impact of ghost nets, enjoy a safe survey dive, share your contributions, and together, make a difference to our oceans. So be part of our “Ghost Gear Detective” team, and help safeguard the integrity of our beautiful ocean.


24/05/2019 Application deadline14/06/2019 Introductory seminar23 or 29/06/2019 Dive training06-11/2019 Data Collection12/2019 Interim review01/2020 Results sharing

Programme details

  1. All participants are required to join the training and activity programmes.
  2. Participants are required to attend ceremonies and other programme-related activities, such as sharing sessions and media interviews, in accordance with arrangements.
  3. Participants are only required to measure and record specific ghost gear details. Participants are NOT required to conduct net retrievals.
  4. Prior consent is required from WWF-Hong Kong for any media interviews related to the programme.
  5. Participants are required to conduct the survey with the methodology and equipment designed for this programme. Participants are required to report all findings to the designated online platform under this project.
  6. The equipment provided in this programme is only for the use of this survey. The equipment cannot be resold or used for commercial purposes. In case of any damage, loss or misuse of the equipment, participants should immediately report to WWF-Hong Kong, which reserves all rights to forfeit or claim the provided equipment.
  7. Participants are required to report their progress performance and evaluation.
  8. WWF-Hong Kong only provides participants with training in scientific investigations. Participants may decide on the execution of the survey method and use their professional knowledge and all due care to implement the survey. No liability or responsibility is accepted by WWF-Hong Kong for any injury (including death), illness, damage, loss, accident, expense, or any other claim however suffered by the participants.
  9. Some activities of the programme will be photographed for publicity and record purposes.
  10. Participants are required to provide information, such as photographs and videos, for publicity and record purposes during the survey. WWF-Hong Kong and the selected teams will jointly own the copyright for photographs and videos relating to the project.
  11. Participants are recommended to purchase their own personal accident insurance and other relevant insurance based on their needs.

For inquiries, please contact

Gordon So: Project Officer, Oceans Conservation Emailgordonso@wwf.org.hkPhone+852 2161 9653

All photos are courtesy of Ken Chew and Eddie Yung. Special thanks to Jacky Chu, MIT Innovation Node.

Ghost Gear _ WWF Hong Kong.pdf80.6KB