Heartbreaking images have revealed how a huge mass of abandoned fishing nets are drifting in the Caribbean Sea, indiscriminately catching and killing dozens of sea creatures.
British dive instructor Dominick Martin-Mayes discovered the shocking ‘ghost net’ drifting north of Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands, on Monday afternoon.
The shocking underwater photos show a juvenile white tip shark among the countless decomposing sea creatures found trapped in the net, which measures 40 feet in depth and 40 feet around.
Trapped: A juvenile white tip shark is seen entangled in the huge floating ‘ghost net’ that is currently drifting in the Caribbean Sea
Mr Martin-Mayes, a graduate in marine biology, told MailOnline he spotted numerous shark species and fish entangled, including tripletail, ocean yellowtail, and ocean turbot.
‘The size of it is mind-blowing. There are a bunch of sharks in it, I couldn’t really tell what species as most were decomposing,’ he said.
The 25-year-old described the discovery as ‘heartbreaking’ and explained that while they managed to cut a few creatures out it was too dangerous to help them all.
Mr Martin-Mayes predicted the enormous tangle of nets had been drifting for ‘months’ due to the amount of growth on it but fears it may never be found again.
‘It’s hard to do anything now as it’s moved probably 100-150 miles, drifting east,’ he warned.
Countless creatures caught: British dive instructor Dominick Martin-Mayes and his dive partner Pierre Lesieur were ‘heartbroken’ after discovering the dozens of sharks and fish rotting in the mass of abandoned nets
Paradise lost: The shocking photos have highlighted a problem beyond the surface of the idyllic Caribbean Sea. Mr Lesieur said ‘just like an iceberg, 90 per cent of the [nets] mass is underneath’ the water
Spotted: The top of the ‘ghost net’ looks harmless compared to what lies beneath. Authorities are searching for the mass of nets but it’s feared it has already drifted 100-150 miles
He shared the photos, taken by his dive partner Pierre Lesieur of Stingray Watersports, on Facebook in the hope that it would raise awareness of the problem.
‘So sad to see this so close to Cayman. 3/4 miles offshore. Such a waste. Did our best to free what we could but we were too late for most,’ Mr Martin-Mayes posted.
Mr. Lesieur told local news station Cayman 27 that the scale of the net’s size can’t be comprehended until you see it underwater.
‘The surface of it was only probably about 50 feet in diameter, but just like an iceberg, 90 per cent of the mass is underneath, and they were miles and miles of netting just tangled up and embedded in themselves, below the water, just disappearing into the depths,’ he explained.
It is unknown where the nets were originally abandoned by fishermen. Once cast aside, old fishing nets can drift with the currents for hundreds of miles, sucking up anything in their path.
Local authorities have been informed about the sighting and Cayman 27 reports the Department of Environment is asking that any further sightings be reported, along with a GPS waypoint.