A 200 metre long fishing net has been recovered by a team of expert divers in Plymouth.
The net was lost and caught on the bed of the reef in the Plymouth sound.
It was strewn across two points at approximately 20-30m deep trapping hundreds of marine animals.
The team of ten volunteer scuba divers from conservation charity Ghost Fishing UK brought the net back on board the diving boat Seeker before unpicking 115 trapped animals.
Most animals were still alive and included spider crabs, lobsters, edible crabs and a large pollack.
They were then thrown back into the sea before volunteers packed up the net.
It is estimated that 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or abandoned into the sea globally each year.
Christine Grosart, trustee of the charity said, "It is extremely rewarding not just to recover such a huge net, but to release 115 animals back into the sea, the majority of which were still alive and kicking.
"Covid-19 set us back with our new recruits but over the last 5 days we have been able to bring several of our newly trained divers out on their qualifying ‘live’ dives and continue building our amazing team.”
Ghost fishing UK encourages divers and fisheries to tell them when and where nets and pots have been lost so they can retrieve them.
In some cases, they can return the gear to its owners.
One of the local scuba divers who reported the large fishing net was Christine Ingram, from Plymouth Sound SAC Dive Club, she said, "It was quite shocking to see how much damage these nets cause and I felt I had to report it straight away.“