Information on applying to the Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program

Most requested

On this page

1 Overview

The Sustainable Fisheries Solutions & Retrieval Support Contribution Program encourages Canadians to take actions to reduce plastic in the marine environment through several streams of action. These include projects to retrieve abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) during closed fishing times, solutions for the disposal of fishing related plastic waste and ALDFG, acquiring and piloting of currently available) innovative gear technology for use in Canadian fisheries, and supporting international work in high-risk areas to reduce ghost fishing and ALDFG.

It will contribute $8.3 million over 2 years (2020-2022) to support projects which fall under 4 themes, or pillars of activities.

2 Who can apply

Eligible recipients under the SFSRS Contribution Program include:

Indigenous organizations/communities include:

3 Eligible activities

Eligible activities under the program will be considered from applicants active in, or proposing work associated with research, development, management, conservation, harvesting, protection or promotion of fisheries and oceans resources and related issues. These include activities aimed at improving fisheries management and sustainability, preventing and mitigating marine litter, and activities designed to prevent and mitigate ghost fishing and the occurrence of abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG).

Proposed activities must align with one or more of the following four pillars:

The contribution program supports a range of activities to support the improvement of fisheries management and sustainability and the prevention and mitigation of marine litter. Eligible activities are as follows:

Activities not listed are ineligible for funding through the Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program.

4 Project funding and eligible expenses

The SFSRSCP is a 2 year program approved to provide contributions to projects from 2020-2022 with a budget of $8.3M. The amount each project will receive is varied and will depend on proposed project activities, expenses and expected contributions to the objectives of the program. Projects do not have a limit above the total monetary value allocated for the program, however, typical SFSRSCP contributions can be expected in the range of $5,000 to $400,000.

5 Eligible expenses

Eligible costs include reasonable and properly itemized costs, directly related to the eligible program activities, for:

6 Application process

Applying to the SFSRSCP Contribution Program involves 2 separate stages; the expression of interest (EoI) stage, and the proposal application stage. The submission of an EoI is not mandatory, but is encouraged for applicants that have not previously received funding from the department or are concerned with their proposal aligning with the objectives of the program. The project proposal stage is mandatory to secure funding.

Please note that extensions for submitting both EoIs and project proposal applications will not be granted for any reason.

Due to Government of Canada policy, communication with applicants regarding proposal status during the project review and selection phase is prohibited until the final administrative approvals have been granted. All eligible applicants will receive an official funding decision notification letter, and negotiation of Contribution Agreements will follow with successful applicants. The program is unable to reimburse applicants for any expenses incurred prior to the official notification.

Step 1: Submitting an expression of interest

The first step in applying for funding under the SFSRS Contribution Program is the optional submission of an expression of interest (EoI). EoIs will be reviewed to ensure that they meet the minimum requirements of a SFSRS project and applicants will be provided with brief feedback on the proposed project. The intent is to offer guidance on project proposals and confirm if the project aligns with the priorities set out under the SFSRSCP.  Expressions of interest must be submitted to no later than February 20, 2020 by 23:59pm PST to be considered  for review during the EoI stage.

Once your EoI has been received and processed you will be provided with a project number. This number must be included in your project proposal application and for use when requesting information from program coordinators.

Submission of an EoI does not guarantee that funding will be approved under the project proposal application process.

Step 2: Submitting a project proposal

The second stage of the application process is a project proposal submitted through an application form. Unlike the EoI stage, the submission of a proposal application is mandatory. Proposals must meet all of the program’s requirements to be considered for funding. Project proposals must be submitted to by April 1, 2020 by 23:59pm PST to be consideredFootnote 2. The submission of a proposal does not guarantee funding. If applicants have submitted an EoI they are to include their project number on the application form. 

More information on the proposal process and required documentation.

7 Evaluation process

The optional submission of an expression of interest (EoI) for review is required by February 20, 2020 by 23:59pm PST and the submission of a project proposal is required by April 1, 2020 by 23:59pm PST. Completed applications will be reviewed upon submission and notification letters will be distributed to applicants by May 20, 2020. Evaluation of proposals will only begin once all required documentation has been submitted. Incomplete proposals will not be considered for funding.

Proposals will be reviewed to make sure they meet eligibility and other requirements for funding. This evaluation includes checking:

Following the assessment of applications, you will be contacted to develop a contribution agreement if the project:

8 Selection Criteria

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) will prioritize projects that propose targeted ALDFG retrieval and responsible disposal outside of active fishing seasons., Additionally, it will prioritize the adoption of sustainable and innovative fishing practices that aim to increasing gear traceability and reduce gear loss, thereby improving the prevention and mitigation of ghost fishing and ALDFG, as well as international initiatives that demonstrate support and leadership in high-risk areas.   

DFO’s focus is on supporting initiatives that will create ongoing actions to support healthy, sustainable and economically productive fish stocks and ecosystems, and those that promote awareness of and involvement in domestic and international commitments related to reducing, mitigating and preventing ghost fishing and ALDFG.

While there is not a maximum funding limit for the Program, a preferred range of funding is between $5,000 and $400,000. However, applicants are encouraged to submit project proposals that do not fall within this range for funding.

Project assessment criteria

This funding provides an opportunity to focus on four pillars of action to support ALDFG prevention and the retrieval and responsible disposal of ALDFG, as well as to support acquisition and piloting of innovative gear technology.

To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate that they are an eligible recipient of funding and that the project they are proposing falls within the acceptable eligible activities.

DFO will assess all projects based on their :

For each pillar, key actions or activities have also been identified that are intended to support progress in each priority area. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and proposals that demonstrate they meet the programs eligibility may be funded that do not fall within the actions and activities listed below.

Program Pillar Priority actions or activities
Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) Retrieval

DFO is seeking to fund measures or activities to assist in the retrieval of ALDFG, such as the following:

  • Directed retrieval operations during closed fishing seasons*
  • Identification and documentation of areas with a higher potential for  or occurrence of ALDFG
  • Education and outreach to industry, Indigenous communities, operators and the public on the impacts of ghost fishing and ALDFG, and the importance of its retrieval and proper disposal
  • ALDFG retrieval training

DFO is seeking to fund measures or activities to assist in activities related to the responsible disposal of ALDFG and end-of-life fishing gear, such as the following:

  • Education and outreach to industry, Indigenous communities, operators and the public on the importance of proper end-of-life fishing gear disposal
  • Identification of available techniques and technology for the proper disposal of ALDFG with a focus on recycling and reduction of waste
  • Projects that prepare retrieved gear for recycling (cleaning, separating, coordinate shipping, etc.)
  • Research and analysis on current disposal operations and recommendations for improvements
  • Development of policies and protocols for responsible disposal of ALDFG and end-of-life fishing gear
  • Development of waste management solutions for domestic fishing vessels
  • Identification of recycling network for ALDFG
  • Increase coastal communities’ capacity for fishing related marine litter and ALDFG disposal at ports of reception
  • Research projects on international methods of ADLFG and end-of-life fishing gear disposal and their potential application in Canada


Gear Acquisition and Innovative Technologies

DFO is seeking to fund measures or activities to assist in the acquisition of fishing gear or gear retrieval technology, as well as the piloting of innovative fishing gear or gear retrieval technology such as the following:

  • Gear retrieval and/or gear tracking technology
  • Piloting of readily available gear in Canadian fisheries
  • Research on alternative gear in use in other jurisdictions and potential for use in Canadian fisheries
  • Training for the use of technologies (ROV, side scan sonar, etc.)


International Leadership

DFO is seeking to fund international measures or activities that will provide program support for areas of high risk for fishing gear loss such as the following:

  • Leveraging program funding with domestic partners, international bodies and/or regional fisheries management organizations on initiatives related to ALDFG
  • Supporting gear technology acquisition and piloting, traceability schemes, including reporting capacity in small island developing nations and other high risk priority areas**
  • Providing opportunities to share best practices, provide training and networking opportunities such as attending gear marking workshops, gear retrieval training, examination of harbour disposal infrastructure, etc.)


*Priority may be given to projects where gear retrieval work could directly benefit Species At Risk Act listed species.  All work must be completed in compliance with the Species at Risk Act and any current species fisheries mitigation measures.

**Priority areas for 2020-2022 include high risk areas, including the small island nations of Oceania, Western & Eastern Africa & the Caribbean.   

9 Contacts

For additional information on the contribution program please e-mail:

10 Additional information

Guides and help:

Date modified: