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Baltic Sea Nature & Heritage Protection Association e.V.

What drives the Baltic Sea Nature & Heritage Protection Association e.V. 

For the past 15 years, we repeatedly saw nets entangled in underwater wreckages but had not previously perceived them as a threat to the environment; this changed abruptly while on a dive in the Baltic Sea off the Lithuanian coast. The wreckages we saw there were not marked on nautical charts, and some of them were covered with several layers of large trawling nets—with dead fish everywhere. These images stayed with us, and we wanted to show people this silent drama taking place. We presented the photos to authority after authority and eventually even to the presidential palace in Vilnius, Lithuania. Everyone was shocked by these images, but no one came forward to take responsibility, so we decided to found the Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project. With the help of other divers and a large portion of our own financial resources, we began salvaging the ghost nets. In Germany in 2019, we founded the Baltic Sea Nature & Heritage Protection Association e.V., and the Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project now runs through the German association.

Here's the latest Baltic Sea Nature & Heritage Protection Association e.V. happenings in 2023

In 2023, we are working on wrecks off the German coast (specifically in Rügen and Kiel Bay). We salvage ghost nets and ensure the proper location, identification, documentation, and disposal of wreckages. In addition, we take water samples from all depths to test for microplastics, heavy metals, and other environmentally harmful substances. We collaborate with universities and museums. For the future, we would like to expand our activities to other parts of the Baltic Sea. Therefore, this year, we will dive to wrecks off the Swedish and Latvian coasts to document the current status of ghost nets in those areas.

How you become active in the Baltic Sea Nature & Heritage Protection Association e.V.

Everyone is welcome to become a member of the association. To provide support on the surface and with the physical hauling of the nets, a diving certificate is not necessary. Work on the wreckages near the island of Rügen takes place at depths of up to 40 meters. Divers recovering nets from these wreckages must have experienced with cold water dives—at least 100 dives, including at least 25 dives in dry suits. For the deeper wrecks, we need very experienced trimix divers, preferably rebreather divers. Experience in dry-suit diving is also a prerequisite.   |    @balticseaheritagerescueproject   |    @BalticSeaHeritageRescueProject

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