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Ghost Nets: Silent Killers of the Ocean

“My work in this underwater photography performance realm is to use my body and my movements as a human canvas for these issues.  Because quite simply, ocean conservation is a human issue.” -Christine Ren

Christine Ren, is embarking on a new environmental campaign to raise awareness about “Ghost Nets” silent killers of the ocean.  Ren is combining her background in dance with underwater photography once again. Her aim is to draw attention to the serious threat fishing nets and lines impose on marine life.  The imagery is powerful, as it illustrates the vulnerability of marine life and the plight they face.  Ren’s thought provoking photographs, turns that tables by bringing into focus what it would be like if a human being endured the same struggle and pain marine life undergo when they become tangled in nets or ingest them.  By reversing the situation, we can’t help, but feel empathy. We cannot ignore the serious nature of the issue and harm caused by derelict fishing gear floating around in the ocean.  The ballerinas are wrapped in bandages representative of the fact that we are bound and interconnected to all life that resides on this planet.  Therefore, this issue is just as much a human issue as it is for marine life and there is suffering all around.  The series of photos captures various scenarios depicting the distress and agony marine life encounter when they become tangled in fishing nets.  Emphasizing the horror of being trapped underwater in a net.  The delicate ballet poises are symbolic of the vulnerability and fragility of marine life and highlights their poignant battle to free themselves.  Overall, the composition of the photos in this awareness campaign is carefully constructed such that, as human beings we can resonate with the  fear, struggle, pain, and distress that comes from the thought or feeling of being trapped underwater.




Marine life face a plethora of threats from climate change to poaching.  While, not a new threat to marine life, abandoned fishing nets and lines is becoming an increasing problem.  As it stands, fishing nets and lines can last up to 400 years in the ocean — adding to the existing issue of ocean pollution.  Turtles, seals, dolphins, whales and sharks have been victims to being entangled in abandoned nets or lines and have often died as a result.  In some instances, divers have been able to rescue them.  There has also been cases whereby turtles, sharks and other marine life have been seen swimming with fishing lines tangled around them as they were unable to free themselves completely.  As consumers, we have the ability to do our part in helping resolve this issue.  We can help ensure that incentives for economic solutions related to ghost nets are put in place.  There are companies conscientious of this environmental issue, and committed to helping create a solution to help reduce the environmental impact of derelict fishing nets, lines and gear that have been lost or recklessly discarded into the ocean.  Net buyback programs have been created and work effectively.  There are companies that offer incentives such as training and paying fisherman to reclaim lost fishing gear, nets and lines.  The encouragement of the removal of these items from the ocean can help alleviate the amount of pollution in our oceans.  Reclaimed fishing gear can then be regenerated into new materials to create new products.  Specifically, the nylon waste from ghost nets can be utilized to create products ranging from swimwear to skateboards, or just about anything.  As advocates for the ocean, we can do our part in assisting with removing plastic and discarded fishing gear when we come across it in the ocean.  We are stronger as a unified network, working together for the betterment of the ocean and marine life.


Behind The Scenes

Take The Challenge

Commit to a 30 day challenge to use hashtag #SilentKillers, and spread the word through social media about businesses and initiatives that are helping to turn reclaimed ghost nets into sustainable products. “Because together, we can champion ocean heroes. And become them ourselves.” – Christine Ren




Art direction, modeling & editing: Christine Ren (http://christinerenfilms.com)

Photography: Jose G. Cano (http://josegcano.com)

Hair & MUA: : Kungy Gay Cano

Additional models: : Emma Porteus, Moana Mink

BTS footage: Brad Watt

Assistant: Caroline Trembath