Derelict fishing gear, also known as "Ghost Gear" causes problems for both commercial and recreational ocean users, as well as marine mammals and wildlife on Northern Vancouver Island and the Central Coast. Ghost gear can be nets, lines, traps, and other commercial harvesting equipment that are lost or abandoned in our oceans.
"Synthetic nets and fishing line in use since the 1940s take decades, even hundreds of years, to decompose in our marine waters. Once abandoned, the gear continues to indiscriminately trap and/or entangle fish, birds and even marine mammals" [http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/derelict/]
Derelict fishing gear can also trap or entangle swimmers and divers, harm the marine ecosystem, and damage boat propellers and rudders.
The Northwest Straights Commission with its project partners have identified this problem in the Puget Sound area and currently operate a very effective identification, reporting, removal, and recycling/disposal program in the Northwest Washington area.
British Columbia currently does not have a derelict fishing gear removal program, but the BC Ministry of Environment has been looking to our neighbours to the South to learn from their experiences with derelict fishing gear removal.
An interesting article about the Washington program can be found at: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008272426_fishinggear16m.html
Have you experienced a problem with derelict fishing gear while living or working in the Northern Vancouver Island and Central Coast region? Tell us about it in the 'comments' section of this posting!