Net Missions: Post Winter Storms At Bedruthan Steps
OUR FIRST WATERHAUL TEAM NET COLLECTION OF THE YEAR
The winter storms have been rolling into Cornwall over the last month or two and we’ve already seen Storm Arwen and Storm Barra taking its toll on our coastlines. With these winter storms we know this is going to result in an increased amount of ghost gear and discarded fishing nets washing up on our beaches, as we saw with our recent net mission in Perranporth where we recovered a monster of a net.
Wanting to kick off our year with a team net collection mission, which is our non-corporate equivalent of a team building activity, Harry and Gavin decided we’d head to Bedruthan Steps which is definitely an old favourite. Being so exposed to the swell Bedruthan’s boulder laden shoreline consistently traps ocean plastics all year around. This combined with the winter storms where we always tend to find more ghost gear and the fact that the main steps to the beach are closed, meant we knew we’d be in with a good chance of finding plenty of nets and discarded fishing gear.
The climb down the cliffs to Bedruthan Steps isn’t too difficult, even with the steps being closed if you wonder along the clifftops you’ll see plenty of well-trodden pathways where people have made their way down to the beach. There are some slippy areas though so lots of care was taken and we ended up wading through the sea water for a short period as it was the only way over to get to the main beach.
Shoes back on after our paddle the team got immediately to work, clambering over the rocky landscape looking for anything that was trapped in between them. It didn’t take more than a few minutes of looking before our trusty recycled ocean plastic Waterhaul knives were out and we started to cut away an abundance of both nets and ropes which were trapped between the rocks.
"As much as we’d love that to be the last time we ever need to go back to Bedruthan Steps, we know that the next time we go they’ll likely be just as much as we collected washed up again."
Recycled Ocean Plastic Products
Along with the fishing nets, ropes and lines, the other random things we found this day were a large blue plastic container, a large plastic hoop and half of a plant pot.
After an hour or two of reclaiming ocean plastics which will all be recycled into new products, we found a cave which has a large amount of fishing net trapped deep within it. We cut off what we could and have earmarked it to return to when we are more equipped for the job of releasing it from the heavy boulders it sits under.
The hard work was now just about to start. Because what might not be widely understood is that fishing net is heavy. We’d found a lot of it and we were now going to have to get it back up the cliffs! Loading everything into a couple of dumpy bags we started the long, slow climb back up. Heaving the heavy bags up between us it was amazing team effort to finally reach the top with them.
As much as we’d love that to be the last time we ever need to go back to Bedruthan Steps, we know that the next time we go they’ll likely be just as much as we collected washed up again. But as team building sessions go, an afternoon at the beach knowing we were doing some good in our little corner of the country isn’t a bad one now is it.
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