These Viral Photos of Sharks and Other Marine Life Caught in a Ghost Net Will Leave You Shook

Divers off the coast of the Cayman Islands found hundreds of dead animals caught in an abandoned commercial fishing net. The divers’ disturbing photos have gone viral.

The “ghost net has likely been drifting in the Caribbean Sea for months, trapping and killing nearly everyone in its path. In fact, the diver who captured the horrifying images said most of the animals in the net were so decomposed that their species couldn’t be determined.

Dominick Martin-Mayes, the diver who discovered the net, told The Independent:
At first we thought it was a log, but as we got closer we could see it was a net with floats. I jumped in the water first and was shocked at what I saw. It took my breath away—the first thing I saw was the juvenile oceanic whitetip [shark]. I got my buddy who was with me to grab a knife and jump in. We did what we could to free some of the trapped life but most of it was already dead.
World Animal Protection reports that 640,000 tons of gear are lost and pollute oceans each year. In 2016 there were 71 reported cases of whales caught in abandoned fishing gear off the U.S. Pacific coast.

Human consumption of seafood is responsible for the deaths of countless sharks, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and porpoises. The National Journal estimates that about 20 percent of all fish caught in commercial trawling nets is “bycatch, or unwanted animals.

Recent video footage released by Mercy For Animals, SeaLegacy, Sharkwater, and Turtle Island Restoration Network reveals how marine animals—including dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds—are routinely trapped and killed in the commercial fishing industry’s driftnets. Animals were documented being cut apart, pierced with hooks, caught in nets, and left to suffocate aboard driftnet fishing boats off the coast of California.

See for yourself.

You can help protect marine life by urging the California legislature to ban driftnets. Click here to take action.

The best thing we can do to remove our support from the cruel fishing industry is to leave fish off our plates and switch to a compassionate vegan diet.

Ready to get started? Check out all the amazing vegan versions of seafood, such as Gardein’s fishless filets and crabless cakes. And click here for compassionate sea-inspired recipes.