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The Ghost Gear Fund in action

Project Descriptions
Name Area of work Description Pillars of activity
The Ocean Legacy Foundation Powell River, BC

Tofino, BC
The Ocean Legacy Foundation is proud to be partnering with the qathet Regional District and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District to build two pilot collection programs in Tofino and Powell River, BC to manage select ghost gear resources in Pacific Canada. This support will provide much needed critical infrastructure to capture plastic wastes, divert them from landfill and responsibly recycle items to not only support innovative technologies but further implement pragmatic solutions to grow the Canadian plastic circular economy. Gear disposal
Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association Nanaimo, BC The Pacific Prawn Fishermen's Association, in conjunction with a fishery-independent at-sea observer company, is developing a real time, at-sea, electronic data capture program for recording gear loss in the BC Commercial Prawn Fishery. The program will incorporate the use of individual trap tags and be linked to the electronic Vessel Monitoring System to ensure fishery-independent oversight. The data collected will provide the precise locations and amount of gear loss which is the essential first step in ghost gear recovery. Gear technology
Emerald Sea Protection Society Salish Sea, BC The Emerald Sea Protection Society is a group of divers and scientists addressing the complex problem of ghost gear and other marine debris through research, underwater surveys, recovery, recycling (where possible), and education. This project is a collaborative initiative to survey and recover abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear in coastal British Columbian waters. We will work closely with fishing families, businesses, non-profits, and governments to recover lost gear across the coast. Gear retrieval, gear technology
BC Shellfish Growers Association Comox, BC There are currently 226 shellfish farms in BC that use suspended culture techniques. Many of these farms have operated for decades. Over that time, culture materials (predator nets, ropes, trays etc.) have inevitably been lost to the seabed, where they can impact fish and fish habitat. This project provides funds to assist shellfish farmers with the cost of recovering subsurface debris and disposing of it responsibly. Gear retrieval
Ecotrust Canada Kunghit Island, BC Ecotrust Canada and the Area A Crab Association will coordinate enhanced gear recovery efforts in the fishery. For years, the Area A harvesters have self-funded annual gear clean ups, and this opportunity will allow additional locations and timing of retrieval efforts. Working alongside T. Buck Suzuki Foundation, hot spots of concern to other fisheries will be included. Gear recovery trips will collect information for a better understanding of the economic and stock implications of lost fishing gear. Gear retrieval
Natural Resources Consultants Salish Sea, BC

Haida Gwaii, BC

Queen Charlotte Sound, BC
Natural Resources Consultants will conduct five activities designed to create a baseline of capacity in British Columbia to locate and remove ghost gear, and to prevent harm from newly lost fishing nets. Activities will include identifying the feasibility of a rapid response and retrieval program designed to reduce impacts of newly lost fishing nets in British Columbia; training divers to remove ghost gear; and identifying hotspot areas of fishing gear loss. We will conduct eight days of ghost gear surveys with the goal of removing 10 derelict nets or up to 250 derelict pots from marine waters. Gear retrieval, gear technology
T. Buck Suzuki Foundation Vancouver, BC The T. Buck Suzuki Foundation and Archipelago are working with BC commercial fish harvesters and fishing associations to locate, retrieve, and prevent lost gear in 10 locations along the BC coast. This project will identify gear loss hotspots, develop best practices for gear management in BC and engage regional stakeholder communities. They will conduct a series of fishermen-led retrievals, determine the ecological impacts of lost gear, and identify viable solutions for future gear loss.  Gear retrieval, gear disposal
Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie Chandler, QC Traditional wooden traps have, over time, been replaced by wire traps, making it difficult for lobster fishermen to dispose of them properly when they become useless. The Regroupement des pêcheurs professionnels du sud de la Gaspésie (RPPSG) will set up a program for the collection and disposal of old wire traps to allow harvesters to dispose of them in a simple and eco-responsible manner. The old wire traps will be sorted and dismantled in order to recycle as mush material as possible. The RPPSG and its members are committed to a sustainable lobster fishery and a healthy environment. Gear disposal
Les Cultures du Large inc. Magdalen Islands, QC Les Cultures du Large's project aims to recover abandoned aquaculture sectors and dispose of them responsibly. Les Cultures du Large will clean up and restore to their natural state two former aquaculture sites used for scallop harvesting. Located 20 km off the coast of the Magdalen Islands, these unused sites contain more than a hundred two-hundred-metre-long lines that have been abandoned. Rearing lines and structures will be removed from aquaculture sites. Responsible disposal of this material will be carried out, either by sorting and reuse or by disposal at the waste management centre. Gear retrieval, gear disposal
Merinov Gaspé, QC This project is aimed at the responsible disposal of unused fishing gear through the development of a process to manage, recycle and recover materials. This multi-partner project is led by Merinov, and aims to develop a circuit that transports the recovered fishing gear to triage centres, then to maximize the processing stages in order to remove the materials that can be integrated into existing recycling channels. The processing potential of materials that are more difficult to recycle will be assessed with a view to generating income that can be reinvested into the local economy. Gear disposal
Coopérative des Capitaines-Propriétaires de la Gaspésie Rivière-au-Renard, QC The Coopérative des Capitaines-Propriétaires de la Gaspésie (ACPG) project aims to recover fishing gear accidentally lost in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and dispose of it in an environmentally responsible manner. To accomplish this, the ACPG will acquire a proven "Reid's Grapnel" grapple system. A bathymetric survey as well as a visual scan by underwater camera will be conducted to target areas of interest. A recovery plan will be developed for Snow Crab Area 12 and Areas 4S and 4T. Lost and recovered fishing gear will be reused, recycled or disposed of. Gear retrieval, gear technology
Fundy North Fishermen's Association St. Andrews, NB As the largest industry in Eastern Canada, the Canadian lobster fishery's inability to recycle lobster traps results in significant volumes of Canadian fishing gear that is never recycled. By creating upcycling streams for end-of-life gear, we can divert lobster traps out of the fishing gear waste stream. In this project, we look to expand the repurposing capacity and build recycling capacity to manage end-of-life lobster traps in southwestern New Brunswick. In doing so, we can begin to address the existing gap around responsible disposal of lobster traps. Gear disposal
Maliseet Nation Conservation Council Bay of Fundy, NB This project will focus on using SCUBA and surface-supply diving as an effective ghost-gear recovery method in the Bay of Fundy. Ghost gear and other marine debris are a concern, now more than ever, as there have been many instances of North Atlantic right whales and other marine species becoming entangled (sometimes fatally) in derelict fishing gear. We will work with COJO Diving and the Marine Debris Strategic Action Committee to develop safe and effective methods for removing ghost gear from known locations using diving. Gear retrieval, gear disposal
CSR GeoSurveys Ltd. Bay of Fundy, NS CSR GeoSurveys Ltd. was founded in 1985 and is an industry leader in the field of ocean mapping. This project will take place in Lobster Fishing Areas 36-38, and will focus on the identification, retrieval and disposal of ghost fishing gear from challenging areas within the Bay of Fundy. We are proud to be working directly with our partners in the fishing industry to accomplish our project goals. Gear retrieval, gear disposal
CSR GeoSurveys Ltd. Northumberland Strait, NS CSR GeoSurveys Ltd. was founded in 1985 and is an industry leader in the field of ocean mapping. This project will take place in Lobster Fishing Areas 26A, and will focus on the identification, retrieval and disposal of ghost fishing gear from challenging areas within the Northumberland Strait. We are proud to be working directly with our partners in the fishing industry to accomplish our project goals. Gear retrieval, gear disposal
Coastal Action South Shore, NS This project will work collaboratively with industry, academia, and government to prevent, reduce, and assess impacts of ghost gear on the South Shore of Nova Scotia (Lobster Fishing Areas 33, 34, and 35 – Nova Scotia only) from July 2020 to March 2022. We will be implementing waste management systems for responsible disposal of end-of-life gear, retrieving ghost gear from priority areas, and conducting an impact assessment of ghost gear during retrieval. We will also engage in ongoing awareness campaigns throughout the project.
Gear retrieval, gear disposal
Eastern Nova Scotia Marine Stewardship Society Louisbourg, NS This project will include pilot studies of GPS-enabled smart buoy technology in the Maritimes, assessing its applicability across different fisheries and industries. Three fixed-gear wild-catch fisheries in the Maritimes have been identified as candidates for piloting the technology: lobster, snow crab, and whelk. In addition, the technology will be used to track gear at mussel and scallop aquaculture operations. Gear technology
Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association Cape Breton, NS Our one-year project will focus on the removal of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded gear in the areas that have been highlighted as a concern by local fish harvesters in Lobster Fishing Area 27. Working with the local fish harvesters within the Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association, we will identify areas with problematic legacy gear and also identify areas where gear may have been lost during the previous lobster fishing season, which will help mitigate future legacy gear from building up.  Gear retrieval, gear technology
Petty Harbour Fisherman's Cooperative Petty Harbour, NL Using multiple vessels equipped with chart plotters, we will do a grid search of the area from Cape St. Francis to Cape Pine. We are using marine charts to map out each 64 sq. km  grid, heading out to sea for a distance of eight km and searching back and forth through each grid until we clean up our area. We have a large area to search and hope to cover it in a timely manner. We have the vessels and man power to do the job. All debris will be landed and stored at our facility in Petty Harbour until it is disposed of. Gear retrieval
Fish, Food, and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-UNIFOR) St. John's, NL We will be implementing a harvester-driven initiative to recover ghost gear across Newfoundland and Labrador. These efforts will incorporate harvester expertise in gear re-use, port infrastructure, and effective gear retrieval measures in order to mitigate ghost fishing and build capacity for the responsible disposal of fishing gear across the province. As a result of this project, FFAW-Unifor will develop training and educational material on gear retrieval best practices, designed to promote sustainable fisheries and the mitigation of ghost fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador into the future. Gear retrieval, gear technology
Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada National Since forming in November 2018, the Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada (FGCAC) has been working collaboratively on preventing and recovering end-of-life abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing and aquaculture gear and developing sustainable solutions to retrieve and recycle these materials. Building on this work, our project team, in partnership with Cleanfarms, will collaborate with key stakeholders and rights holders to implement a self-sustaining product stewardship program for end-of-life fishing gear across Eastern Canada. Gear disposal
Ocean Conservancy (Global Ghost Gear Initiative®)  Vanuatu and Solomon Islands The Global Ghost Gear Initiative® (GGGI), based at Ocean Conservancy, has been working with partners in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands since 2017 to identify and implement sustainable strategies for preventing and recovering lost fishing gear in the region. This project aims to reduce ghost gear in the region by mapping and modelling regional hotspots to target for both gear retrieval and loss prevention activities. We are also testing new technologies for marking/tracking fishing gear to prevent loss. Gear retrieval, international leadership
Ocean Conservancy (Global Ghost Gear Initiative®)  Washington, DC The Global Ghost Gear Initiative®, based at Ocean Conservancy, will use this project to drive policy change on ghost gear at a global level by harnessing the collective power of governments and corporations through discussion and information-sharing. We will convene one roundtable for government representatives to address the need for coordinated action and science-based decision-making on ghost gear at the international level. A separate roundtable will focus on engaging the private sector to implement ghost gear guidelines. International leadership
Stand Out For Environment Restoration Initiative Nigeria This project will seek to engage coastal communities in Nigeria to assist in the development and formulation of policies for the prevention and mitigation of ghost gear through stakeholders workshops and conferences. We will also work to improve livelihoods and create economic opportunities for fishing communities through the organizations of craft workshops of end-of-life ghost gear. Finally, we will create an integrated ghost gear recovery program with our focus on offshore recovery, and install end-of-life gear recovery centers for collection, collation and analysis of retrieved ghost gear. Gear retrieval, international leadership
Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Caribbean Sea This project represents a partnership between the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) with the overall goal of reducing fishing gear loss and the impacts of ghost gear in the Caribbean Sea. The project will provide capacity building and knowledge/technology transfer to the artisanal fishing community and other marine resource users in the Caribbean. This will be achieved through hosting a regional ghost gear best practice workshop focused on the Caribbean, supporting fishers in their efforts to reduce ghost gear, developing a regional Caribbean Fisheries Management and ghost gear action plan, and extending baseline analysis and hotspot mapping in the Caribbean. Gear disposal, international leadership

The Sustainable Fisheries Solutions & Retrieval Support Contribution Program, or Ghost Gear Fund, encourages Canadians to take actions to reduce plastic in the marine environment. Each year, more than eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the world's oceans. Lost, abandoned and derelict fishing nets and commercial fishing gear, known as ghost gear, as well as plastic waste from aquaculture, are major contributors to the plastic debris problem. Recent studies indicate that ghost fishing gear may make up 46-70% of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight.

The Ghost Gear Fund will support 26 projects over two years (2020-2022). All projects fall under at least one of four themes, or pillars of activity:

Retrieval: These mark the approximate locations of gear retrieval projects. Click on the marker to learn more about the project.

Ghost gear retrieval

Retrieval projects will identify areas known to have high levels of reported lost fishing gear, and work to remove as much gear from the water as possible. Some retrieval projects will target clean-ups to areas that are known habitat for species at risk. Projects will also seek out areas where the reported lost gear will have a greater impact on the surrounding environment, such as gillnets, pots and traps. Other types of lost gear, including longlines, hook and line, trawls and seines will also be targeted for retrieval.


Disposal: These mark the approximate locations of gear disposal projects. Click on the marker to learn more about the project.

Responsible disposal

Disposal projects will work with relevant partners (ports, industry, etc.) to identify and facilitate measures or activities related to the responsible disposal and recycling of ghost gear and end-of-life fishing gear. To reduce the amount of fishing gear ending up in landfills, projects will include:

  • working with recycling and waste facilities
  • identifying transportation and storing options
  • coming up with creative solutions
Technology: These mark the approximate locations of gear technology projects. Click on the marker to learn more about the project.

Acquisition and piloting of available technology

These projects encourage the acquisition and/or piloting of market-ready technologies aimed at prevention, reduction, and retrieval of ghost gear. For the fishing industry, this includes:

  • opportunities to pilot market-ready technologies in Canadian fisheries to determine whether it allows for alternative solutions
  • address gaps in current gear used
  • limit impacts on the marine environment (including known habitat for species at risk)
  • whether it is an economically viable option for the industry
International leadership: These mark the approximate locations of international leadership projects. Click on the marker to learn more about the project.

International leadership

International projects involve working with a recognized international body or organization to help developing or small island states establish their own sustainable fisheries practices and programs to mitigate the impact of ghost gear. These projects must also fall into at least one of the other three Ghost Gear Fund pillars of activity (retrieval, disposal or technology), and help work towards long-term solutions in the regions where the work will be completed. International hotspots for ghost gear include the Caribbean, South Pacific, and West African coast.

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