Canada continues to combat ghost gear in our oceans with launch of new reporting system  

News release

Lost, abandoned or derelict fishing gear, or ‘ghost gear,’ is a leading cause of marine pollution. It can cause serious harm to our marine mammals and it threatens the health of our oceans’ ecosystems.

As part of the Government of Canada’s ongoing effort to protect our oceans, the Ghost Gear Fund (Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program) was launched in 2019. Just two years later, the Ghost Gear Fund has helped remove 224 tonnes of old gear from Canadian and international waters – the equivalent weight of 36 elephants. The Fund has returned 101 units of lost gear back to harvesters and helped develop news ways to prevent and track lost gear in the future.

Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, announced a new online system that makes it easier for commercial harvesters to report their lost fishing gear. The new Fishing Gear Reporting System allows commercial harvesters to conveniently input a description of their lost gear, the cause of loss, and its location from any online device.

All commercial harvesters in Canada are required to report their lost fishing gear to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This reporting helps the Department and other partners locate and remove lost gear from our waters and, in many cases, return the gear to its rightful owner.   

The Fishing Gear Reporting System was developed under the Ghost Gear Fund, and will provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with more accurate and timely data on areas where gear-loss is most frequent, as well as the most common causes of gear loss. This information will help the Department to better target areas for ghost gear retrieval activities and find solutions to help prevent gear-loss in the future.

Quotes

“Canada is a recognized, world-leader in the fight against marine pollution, and Canadian harvesters have been instrumental in our success to date. Not only will the Fishing Gear Reporting System make it easier for harvesters to be part of the solution, it will help them recover their valuable gear. This is good for industry and good for our environment.”

The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“Canada’s new Fishing Gear Reporting system further solidifies Canada as a global leader in finding solutions to ghost gear. Further complementing their Ghost Gear Fund and the crucial work it has facilitated both domestically and internationally, this new online reporting system will help harvesters be part of a holistic set of solutions designed to help the economy, coastal communities, marine life of all kinds and the environment in general. Implementing a system like this is a key recommendation of the newly revised GGGI Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear, and we hope that other countries will follow this example and develop similar systems in the months and years to come.”

Joel Baziuk, Associate Director, Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Quick facts

  • The Fishing Gear Reporting System is currently available to commercial harvesters across the country. Recreational harvesters and the general public will be able to use the system to report lost gear at a later date.

  • The Fishing Gear Reporting System was developed in collaboration with Work Dynamics and Webdrive to create an interface that would be easily navigated by commercial harvesters, and contribute to a comprehensive database that will guide retrieval efforts and inform the Ghost Gear Program of the scope of the issue in Canada.

  • In January 2020, the Department launched the $8.3 million Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Fund (Ghost Gear Fund). The Ghost Gear Fund currently supports 26 projects under four program pillars: 1) ALDFG retrieval, 2) responsible disposal, 3) uptake and piloting of technology to prevent gear loss and 4) international leadership.

  • The 2021 Federal Budget announced an additional $10M in funding for the Ghost Gear fund for 2021-2022, to continue to advance Canada’s role as international leaders in addressing abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG). The proposal evaluation process closed July 7th, 2021, and evaluations are currently being completed to allocate these funds.

  • So far, the Ghost Gear Program has retrieved a total of 224 tonnes of fishing gear and marine debris; 159 tonnes from the Atlantic and 65 tonnes from the Pacific coast.

  • The Ghost Gear Fund has achieved more than 185 retrieval trips and retrieved more than 1303 units of gear, including 27,000ft of rope; creating more than 300 jobs that contribute towards Canada’s Blue Economy.

Associated links

Contacts

Olivia McMackin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
343-571-9193
Olivia.McMackin@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Communications Branch
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region
418-648-5474
Media.qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

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