Canada’s Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program will provide up to $8.3 million towards retrieving and disposing of harmful ghost gear

In a concrete effort to address the challenge of plastic pollution, Darren Fisher, MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour and Andy Fillmore, MP for Halifax, have announced a new gear retrieval contribution programme that will provide up to $8.3 million to assist Canadian fish harvesters, environmental groups, Indigenous communities, the aquaculture industry, and coastal communities to find and retrieve harmful ghost gear from the ocean and dispose of it responsibly.

The Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program will also support fish harvesters to acquire new clean technologies to reduce gear loss. This new initiative is one of many actions announced under the Government of Canada’s plan to combat plastic pollution and ghost gear in the environment. It is designed to address the entire spectrum of issues surrounding ghost gear, including prevention, mitigation and disposal. To further address ghost gear in the oceans, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will host a Gear Innovation Summit in February 2020, which will include discussions on technological solutions to prevent ghost fishing gear from entering the oceans in the first place.

The programme is designed to address every aspect of the ghost gear issue, from prevention, to mitigation and disposal

‘Ghost gear undermines the sustainability of our fisheries, often trapping marine animals which would otherwise be part of a regular catch,’ said Member of Parliament for Halifax Andy Fillmore.

‘Not only is it damaging to the ecosystem, it affects the industries and coastal communities that depend on fisheries for their livelihoods. This program will be a tremendous asset to harvesters, small craft harbours, and all those with a vested interest in keeping our waters clean and healthy.’

With the longest coastline in the world and one-quarter of the world’s fresh water, Canada has a unique responsibility – and opportunity – to lead in reducing plastic pollution. Canada already launched the Ocean Plastics Charter at the 2018 G7 Summit and signed the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to investing in new Canadian technologies that turn plastic waste into valuable resources ‘Over the past few years, we have all seen the disastrous consequences ghost gear can have on the marine environment, specifically on large mammals like the endangered North Atlantic right whale,’ said Member of Parliament for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour Darren Fisher.

‘With programmes like this one, we are making it easier to remove and dispose of lost gear, helping to ensure our coastal fishing communities and the marine ecosystem they depend on, continue to thrive.’