63 tonnes of ‘ghost gear’ removed from Atlantic Ocean in 2020 – Totally Vegan Buzz

63 tonnes of ‘ghost gear’ removed from Atlantic Ocean in 2020

63 tonnes of 'ghost gear' removed from Atlantic Ocean in 2020
Image: @coastalaction/Instagram

Ghost gear accounts for about 70% of macro-plastics in the ocean.

More than 63 tonnes of discarded fishing gear – a major source of marine pollution- has been retrieved from the Atlantic Ocean since 2020.

The cleanup is part of The Ghost Gear Fund –set up by the Canadian government to support 26 different projects between 2020 and 2022, aimed at reducing plastic in the marine environment.

According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, ghost gear- a term given to abandoned traps, nets, buoys, and other fishing gear drifting in the ocean – accounts for almost 70% of macro-plastics in the ocean, destroying habitat and marine lives.  

The problem is so grave that in Canadian waters alone, entanglements in ghost gear have reduced the endangered species’ number to just 400.

Clean up

Coastal Action- one of the organizations involved in the project alone removed nine tonnes of debris in 2020- a spokesperson of the group revealed.

Most of the so-called “ghost gear” included “288 lobster traps, 500kg of rope, and 1500kg of steel cable.

The group wrote on Instagram, that 239 lobsters were released, 67% of which were market size.

Seven groundfish, five of which were species-at-risk were also released by the crew.

‘Addressed for the long term’

Apart from cleaning the ocean, the project also helps reunite equipment to fishers. Anything with identification is returned if it was still useable to its owners.

In an interview, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan said: “(Our oceans) need to be sustainable for the long term.

“It’s not just taking it out of the ocean and putting it in a landfill site, it’s being addressed for the long term.”

While most of the gear was collected from the Bay of Fundy and the coastal waters off Nova Scotia, the project will also tackle the waters of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of British Columbia in 2021.

According to authorities, successful completion of these projects will help save endangered species, like the Atlantic right whale, as well as the coastal communities that depend on the oceans for their livelihoods. 

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