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Canada's Ghost Gear Fund delivering results for cleaner oceans

·9-min read

OTTAWA, ON, Dec. 2, 2021 /CNW/ - Abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear, or 'ghost gear,' is a leading cause of marine debris around the world and has damaging impacts on global fish stocks and marine mammals. Through the Ghost Gear Program, the Government of Canada is working with partners to rid our oceans of ghost gear and create new solutions to reduce fishing debris. This work will help conserve and restore our marine environment to benefit marine life and coastal communities.

Plastic pellets at Ocean Legacy Depot (West Coast) (CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada)
Plastic pellets at Ocean Legacy Depot (West Coast) (CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada)

Today, the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister for Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, highlighted that during the past two years, the Ghost Gear Program has helped remove approximately 739 tonnes of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear from Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coasts. That is the equivalent weight of 231 Zambonis. This includes more than 118 kilometres of rope, an amount that could almost stretch from Fredericton to Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Ghost Gear Program was launched in 2019, and included the $8.3 million Ghost Gear Fund. Budget 2021 announced an additional $10 million in funding for the program for 2021-2022. Since the launch of the Program, partners who received funding through the Ghost Gear Fund have been able to recover approximately 5,828 units of lost gear. Most of the gear retrieved —approximately 84 per cent—were traps or pots that are commonly used in lobster and crab fisheries, and the remaining 16 per cent was a combination of nets and longlines from various fisheries. Derelict gear from non-operational aquaculture sites was also retrieved from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

In 2021, the Ghost Gear Fund supported 37 projects, many of which focus on increasing Canada's recycling capacity for end-of-life fishing gear, and identifying and removing ghost gear from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Fraser River in British Columbia. Among many notable projects, the Fund supported the operation of a recycling depot in British Columbia that is turning ghost gear into pelletized plastic to be used in secondary products, including kayaks. Of the projects funded in 2021, 14 are being undertaken in collaboration with Indigenous communities and five of these are led by Indigenous organizations.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is in the process of identifying areas for future ghost gear removal and recycling activities in Canada's northern communities. The Department is also analyzing data from the new Fishing Gear Reporting System, which was launched in June 2021, to better understand the extent of gear loss in Canada.

Since its launch in 2020, the Ghost Gear Program has supported the creation of more than 300 jobs that contribute to Canada's blue economy and has returned 216 units of lost gear back to harvesters.

Quotes

"Canada has become a leader in the global effort to eliminate and prevent ghost gear in our oceans. Through our Ghost Gear Program, we're working with many organizations, communities and harvesters who want to be a part of the solution to protect and regenerate our marine ecosystems by removing this harmful waste. I am so inspired by the tremendous results of the program so far, and I look forward to more progress as we work together to tackle ghost gear in Canada and abroad."

The Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick Facts

  • The Ghost Gear Program supports harvesters, environmental groups, Indigenous communities, the aquaculture industry, and coastal communities to retrieve harmful ghost gear from Canadian waters.

  • The 37 projects funded in 2021-2022 were distributed as follows: eight in British Columbia; six in Quebec; seven in New Brunswick; nine in Nova Scotia; three in Newfoundland and Labrador; one national; and, three international.

  • To date, the Ghost Gear Fund has supported 49 projects under four program pillars: 1) ghost gear retrieval; 2) responsible disposal; 3) uptake and piloting of technology to prevent gear loss; and, 4) international leadership.

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  • Backgrounder

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Project recipients receive additional funding under the Ghost Gear Fund

Backgrounder

Through the Ghost Gear Program, the Government of Canada has been working with partners to rid our oceans of ghost gear and create new solutions to reduce fishing debris. In 2021, the Ghost Gear Program provided additional support to 37 projects, many of which focus on increasing Canada's recycling capacity for end-of-life fishing gear, and identifying and removing ghost gear from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Fraser River in British Columbia.

For additional project details, please visit: Ghost Gear Fund

* Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG)

Recipient

Project Title

Area of Work

Funding

Association des Pêcheurs Professionnels Crabiers Acadiens, Inc. (APPCA)

Reducing Impact of ALDFG* Interactions with Marine Mammals in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

Gulf of St. Lawrence, N.B.

$400,000.00

Association des Pêcheurs Professionnels Crabiers Acadiens, Inc. (APPCA)

Industry Led Large-Scale Mapping and Retrieval of ALDFG* in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence to decrease possible Interactions with Marine Mammals and to reduce the presence of Plastic in the Ocean.

Gulf of St. Lawrence, N.B.

$285,000.00

Blue Ocean Gear Inc.

Gear Tracking Technology Deployment to Prevent Gear Loss in Multiple Canadian Fisheries: A Large-Scale Effort to Reduce Ghost Fishing

Gulf of St. Lawrence, N.B.

$150,000.00

Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association

Ghost Gear Removal in LFA 27

Cape Breton, N.S.

$20,000.00

Centre de recherche sur les milieux insulaires et maritimes (CERMIM)

Locating, retrieval and re-purposing of ghost fishing gear off the Magdalen Islands

Magdalen Islands, Que.

$407,030.00

Comité ZIP Côte-Nord du Golfe

Identification and retrieval of fishing gear lost in the coastal waters near Sept-Îles

Sept-Îles, Que.

$41,005.00

Comité ZIP des Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Retrieval of fishing gear lost or abandoned at sea in areas of high ecological value of the Magdalen Shallows Slope

Magdalen Islands, Que.

$204,457.50

Coastal Restoration Society

ALDFG* Retrieval (and safe disposal) from First Nation Territorial Waters - Pacific Region

Tofino, B.C.

$700,000.00

Coopérative des Capitaines Propriétaires de la Gaspésie (APCG)

Manufacturing and acquisition of a Reid's Grapnel to retrieve abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded commercial fishing gear (ALDFG) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Rivière-au-Renard, Que.

$350,000.00

CSR GeoSurveys Ltd.

LFA 36-38 ALDFG* Survey, Retrieval and Disposal

Bay of Fundy, N.S.

$300,000.00

CSR GeoSurveys Ltd.

LFA 26A ALDFG* Survey, Retrieval and Disposal

Northumberland Strait, N.S.

$250,000.00

Emerald Sea Protection Society

Restoring the Emerald Sea: Collaboratively tackling lost fishing gear in the Canadian Salish Sea

Salish Sea, B.C.

$235,000.00

Esgenoôpetitj First Nation

Miramichi Bay Fishing Gear Retrieval & Disposal

Miramichi Bay, N.B.

$120,000.00

Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society

Lower Fraser River Ghost Gear Removal and Community Outreach Initiative

Lower Fraser River, B.C.

$95,844.00

Friends of McNabs Island Society

McNabs and Lawlor Islands Cleanup – Education and Awareness Initiative

McNab Island, N.S.

$21,000.00

Fundy North Fisherman's Association

Responsible Disposal of End of Life Lobster Traps

St. Andrews, N.B.

$106,670.00

Goodwood Plastics Products

Maximizing Recycling Efficiency and Value of End-of-Life Plastic Fishing Gear in Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada

$237,000.00

Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

Reducing Fishing Gear Loss and the impacts of ALDFG* into the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region

Caribbean Sea

$100,000.00

Les Pecheries Shipek

Retrieval of lost gear in the area off the western tip of Anticosti Island

Anticosti, Que.

$14,700.00

Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance

LFFA and FVAFS Ghost Net Retrieval Program

Fraser River, B.C.

$61,526.00

Malahat Nation

Mapping and Improving High-Value Habitat influenced by Derelict Fishing Gear in the Salish Sea

Salish Sea, B.C.

$336,750.00

Maliseet Nation Conservation Council

Using diving to remove ghost-gear and other marine debris from the Bay of Fundy

Bay of Fundy, N.B.

$140,224.00

Marine Thinking

Lobster trap tracking, monitoring, and retrieval system

Lobster Fishing Area 33, N.S.

$120,000.00

Maritime Fishermen's Union

Clean Oceans, fishermen taking action in LFA 26 : Ghost Gear retrieval effort.

Lobster Fishing Area 26, N.S.

$110,000.00

Merinov

Abandoned or lost fishing gear: introduction to repurposing

Gaspé, Que.

$300,000.00

Natural Resources Consultants

Newly Lost Net Response and ALDFG* Removal Diver Training

Campbell River, B.C.

$149,673.00

Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association

Removal of Plastic Equipment (from Abandoned Mussel Aquaculture Sites) (ROPE) Project

N.L.

$199,251.95

Ocean Conservancy (Global Ghost Gear Initiative®)

Driving Policy Change to Catalyze Reductions in Ghost Gear

Washington, D.C.

$225,000.00

Petty Harbour Fisherman's Cooperative

Petty Harbour Fishermen's Co-operative - Eastern Avalon Ghost Fishing Gear Retrieval Project

Petty Harbour, N.L.

$134,038.00

Prince Edward Island Fishermen's Association

PEI Modified Grapnel Trialling and Wide Scale Gear Retrieval Project

Gulf of St. Lawrence, N.B.

$75,583.75

Richmond County Inshore Fishermen's Association

Ghost Gear retrieval of St. Peter's Bay, Richmond County, Nova Scotia

St. Peter's Bay, N.S.

$37,000.00

Shift Environmental Technologies Ltd.

Rural First Nations ALDFG* Training Collection and Recycling Pilot

Prince Rupert, B.C.

$400,000.00

Stand Out For Environment Restoration Initiative

Fishing Net Gains West Africa (FNG - WA)

Nigeria

$200,000.00

The Confederacy of Mainland Mi'Kmaq

Keskaqowey Apuktuk Memjewey Mi'kma'ki (Ghost Gear in Mi'kma'ki)

Digby, N.S.

Northumberland Strait, N.S.

$250,000.00

The Ocean Legacy Foundation

Strategic Collection and Processing of Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) Resources in Pacific Canada

Ucluelet, B.C.

$800,000.00

Titan Maritime Ltd.

Titan Maritime Proposal to DFO for SFSRSCP Funding

Southern Shore, N.S.

$204,000.00

Torngat Joint Fisheries Board (TJFB)

ALDFG* retrieval and disposal initiative– Nunatsiavut waters (NAFO 2GH, 2Jnorth)

Labrador, N.L.

$265,000.00

Retrieval of a seine net (East Coast) (CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada)
Retrieval of a seine net (East Coast) (CNW Group/Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada)

SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada

Cision
Cision

View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/December2021/02/c7649.html

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