Devon

Clearing Scylla wreck net off Cornwall could cost £20,000

  • 13 January 2012
  • From the section Devon

The cost of removing an illegal fishing net snagged around a diving attraction off the coast of south Cornwall could be up to £20,000.

The National Marine Aquarium, which owns the site, said the job would take longer than first thought.

The 100m (328ft) net has been caught around the wreck of HMS Scylla since November, causing a loss of marine life.

Diver Rich Stevenson said: "It's going to be lot harder than we anticipated."

'Free Willy moment'

He said: "We spent 15-20 minutes and managed to shift 3-4ft of it.

"As soon as you start cutting at it, it just grows, it spreads, and that's what we're up against because it's all so tightly wound up on itself.

"Once you get into it you probably find a rhythm, you get a routine going, what we can't do is start ripping it off because you could cause more damage."

Former Royal Navy frigate HMS Scylla was sunk in Whitsand Bay in 2004 to create the reef, which is home to more than 250 species of marine life.

Mr Stevenson said: "We had a success mission as well, we found a big Ballanwrasse had swum into the net, it was still alive so we managed to get that out so we've had a bit of a 'Free Willy' moment."

The aquarium has been advising recreational divers for their safety to avoid the area.

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