Activities in Europe

Ghost Nets - Danger for Animals and Humans 

WWF and Rostock Zoo draw attention to invisible traps on the seabed

Rostock January 21, 2022.

At Rostock Zoo a new outdoor exhibition was opened together with representatives of the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) at and even in the penguin basin. The purpose of the initiative "Ghost Nets - Danger for Animals and Humans  is to draw attention to the considerable dangers posed by ghost nets in our oceans. The exhibition, a collaboration project between WWF and Rostock Zoo, is on display until March.

The penguin basin is currently unoccupied due to measures to protect against the bird flu, however, it is still filled with water. This way ghost nets and the dangers they pose can nevertheless be demonstrated very clearly.

Already since 2014 the WWF has been committed to the problem of lost fishing gear, so-called ghost nets. In the first six years of the project, an efficient method for searching for and retrieving ghost nets from the Baltic Sea was developed. As a result 24 tons have been retrieved so far. Since 2021 the state of Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania has been the first coastal federal state to provide funds to work against ghost nets.

The exhibition at the Rostock Zoo featuring gillnets being used in coastal fishing worldwide impressionably shows the dangers posed by ghost nets. Gillnets like those used on the coasts of Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania, are selective when fishing and do not destroy the seabed. However, when they get lost, they become deadly traps for animals for years. The loss is also a great financial loss for fishermen, because on top of that, gillnets pollute the fishing areas with plastic.

Background information: Working for nature for more than 50 years 
The World Wide Fund For Nature ( is one of the largest nature conservation organizations in the world and is active in more than 100 countries. All over the world, it has around five million supporters. The WWF's global network maintains 90 offices in more than 40 countries. Around the globe employees are presently implementing 1,300 projects to conserve biodiversity.

Zoo Rostock

translated by Angelika Veelken

Pictures of the Zoo Rostock & Frank Fuchs 
The animal keepers René Schoknecht (left) and Matthias Petzoldt are placing the ghost nets in the penguin basin. Here you can watch live how objects are being caught in the nets. In nature, the nets become deadly traps for animals.

Click on the pictures to enlarge:

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