The Diktynna Project
By: Demetra Regan (TD Diving / @td_diving)
Caring for our oceans means getting off our sofa and doing something!
Ghost nets are fishing nets that have either been abandoned, lost, or discarded. The problem with ghost nets is not limited to certain geographic areas, but it is a worldwide phenomenon.
Marine life gets entangled in ghost nets. Entanglement restricts movement, which can lead to starvation and eventually death.
It is a sight no diver wants to encounter underwater. As an SDI/TDI Dive Centre, TD Diving always tried to raise awareness about the dangers of ghost nets around the Cyprus coastline and beyond. So an idea was formed: After becoming aware that SDI teamed with Sea Shepherd UK to launch the first accredited “Ghostnet Recovery” specialty course and seeing the great work that is being done in the UK, we decided we wanted to expand the project to Cyprus!
So “The Diktynna Project” was born. For those who would say that the word “diktynna” is Greek to them, this is because it is! It comes from Greek mythology and it means “the lady of the nets”.
Off we went with our idea to our SDI/TDI Greece Cyprus regional office. Our Regional Manager Hanna Baker was more than willing to help us bring our idea to fruition and came up with some great suggestions on how we could launch the project and make this a great event.
And who better to train us than Mark Powell. Logistics were put in place, and with the sponsorship of the Cyprus Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Mark Powell flew to Cyprus.
The Ghostnet Recovery specialty course was taught over two days. Theory and briefing sessions on the history and philosophy of SDI and Sea Shepherd UK, as well as briefing on various types of cutting devices, lift bags, air redundancy, and environmental considerations were followed by in-water training where the theory was put to use.
It was a great learning experience to practice removing ghost nets safely and learn how to make our seas a safer place for marine life. The “backstabber” knife (a premium quality knife often used by commercial divers) was particularly popular with the divers in training, and steps are already underway to equip as many as participating divers as possible with it.
With the support of volunteers, The Diktynna Project was officially launched on April 10th, 2022, with a ghostnet recovery operation near the Cyclops dive site.
Going forward, we aim to:
(a) Raise more awareness of the ghostnet problem around Cyprus
(b) Get more volunteers interested in participating. To this end, we plan to launch a mailing list where we will announce dates and times of ghost net recovery dives. People interested in joining the mailing list can drop us a PM on either our TD Diving Facebook page or The Diktynna Project Facebook page.
(c) Organise regular ghostnet recovery dives all over Cyprus at least 1 time per month
(d) Repurpose portions of the recovered ghostnets
From the beginning of the training through to the launch of the project, SDI/TDI were fully supportive and even went as far as designing some pretty amazing artwork for the project.
This was a great learning experience, and we believe a fun time was had by all!