One of the competition judges, Mandawuy Yunupingu (Yothu Yindi lead
singer) tries out a chair from the Ghost Net Collection, by second
prize winner John Vanzella.
Above is first prize design, the wonderful guitar strap by Chantal
Cordey, which is fitted over her Afri-Can guitar, made from
recycled goods in South Africa.
Read more about them at: www.african-guitars.com/
Photos: Jane Dermer; Chantal Cordey
ABANDONED, lost or discarded, the hundreds of fishing nets that
find their way to the waters and shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria
pose a real hazard to the six species of marine turtle that breed
and nest there. More than a year ago the Indigenous communities of
the region began the ‘Ghost Nets’ programme which not
only collects the nets and data about the problem, but is now
developing novel ways to put the floating menace to work.
Earlier this year, the Carpentaria Ghost Nets program ran a
competition to find uses for the miles of nets that wash up on the
shore and the winning designs—announced in August at the
annual Garma festival in Arnhem Land—included a guitar strap,
chairs, bags, fruit bowls and kitchen hangers.
Criteria for the products entered were that they re-used ghost
nets, could be easily manufactured by community groups and have
retail value for resale as communities can sell their products
through the Internet or local markets.
The winning design was awarded to Chantal Cordey, whose guitar
strap, pictured above centre, incorporated thongs, plastic bags and
the inner tubes of tyres—all of which are regularly found
washed up on beaches—in the design.
It also made use of the extensive weaving skills that exist in
communities around the Gulf.
The Ghost Nets programme came about because Indigenous Sea
Rangers noted that turtles were being caught in the nets with many
marine turtles becoming trapped and dying. According to the
program’s website, nearly all of the marine debris entering
the Gulf is related to fishing and originates from all parts of
South East Asia. Once the nets enter Gulf waters, they are caught
in a circular current; washing ashore, going out to sea and then
washing to shore again.
Since 1996, 205 stranded turtles have been recorded on Cape
Arnhem alone, including four of the marine turtle species listed as
either endangered or vulnerable under Australian legislation. The
floating nets also create havoc with navigation and the safe
operation of vessels at sea as they get caught up in propellers,
rudders and even engine intakes. To date, more than 200
different types of nets have been identified.