DIVE.IS conducted a dive against debris clean up day at Silfra
DIVE.IS' first Dive Against Debris at Silfra last Sunday made good headway in the clearing of the lead shot. It may look like a small amount, but the 3 areas in Silfra where divers must have lost some shot lead out of their weight pockets look much better.
This event also created awareness amonst divers in Iceland about the negative effect these little shot lead balls can have to fish who mistake the balls for food.
Sunday turned out cold and snowy, so it was a small dedicated team of 5 that took on the lead shot challenge at Silfra. Armed with two spoons, a knife, a mesh bag, a small‘s container and a pair of pliers, the two buddy teams took to their areas. One team focussed on the first section, Big Crack, and the other team headed to Silfra Hall to start there and work round to the end.
It turned out to be more complex than first though, as many of the small lead balls are trapped in the small holes and crevices that are naturally found in lava rocks. Working in 7mm mittens due to the 3°C water temp, finding a tool that would be able to get at the balls, which are between 1 and 3mm diameter, but still be easy enough to use, proved to be a challenge. We had originally thought that the balls were merely lying in dips in the rocks, but as it turned out many of them were almost embedded. Needle nosed pliers turned out to be the most successful tool, but removing one ball at a time was slow work.
As you can see from the before and after shots, a big difference was made, with a total of 252 balls being removed. After an average of 48mins in the water though, it was decided that the remaining lead shot would need to wait for a future dive. We are confident that those which are left do not pose an ingestion risk to the fish, as they are fairly firmly wedged. We are now looking into different tools to use to collect the remaining lead on a future dive. We were very grateful for the support of Þingvellir National Park both before the event and on the day and have started discussions regarding hopefully attempting to remove the debris from the other fissures in the area. Having got the ball rolling, we are planning for several clean up events in the new year.