In April 2021, Healthy Seas announced the expansion of its geographic focus to Africa by partnering with the volunteer divers of Ghost Diving Egypt.
Due to its unique geological formation, the Red Sea is a biodiversity hotspot. Its extensive reef system is home to some 1500 species of coral and fish with an estimated 20% endemic to the region, meaning they are only found in the Red Sea. These coral reefs are some of the most productive on the planet; but perhaps most impressive is their resiliency to rising ocean temperatures.
In the Northern Red Sea – in particular the Gulf of Aqaba – no mass bleaching events have occurred and these corals are considered a refuge from climate change and ocean acidification. More research is needed to understand why these corals have yet to be impacted by warming waters but scientists believe the Red Sea’s reefs hold the key to saving reef systems in other parts of the world that are unable to adapt to rising ocean temperatures.
This is why it’s imperative to preserve these corals and protect them from other significant threats such as wastewater runoff, coastal development, plastic pollution and destructive fishing practices. Detailed data collected over the past year from frequent underwater cleanups in Dahab, a coastal town lying on the Gulf of Aqaba, shows us the largest sources of marine litter in the region are cigarette filters, single-use plastics, and cloth fabrics.
When it comes to ghost fishing gear, nets and lines are the most common found in Dahab’s waters and are problematic for marine species as they can become entangled and trapped, limiting their chances for survival.
The ghost nets collected by the divers will be transported to Aquafil’s factory in Slovenia, to be regenerated, along with other nylon waste, into brand new ECONYL® yarn.