June 10, 2021
Ottawa, ON – Lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear, or ‘ghost gear,’ is one of the largest causes of marine pollution. Canada has made great strides in tackling this problem, both at home and abroad, through the Ghost Gear Fund (Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program). In 2020, the Ghost Gear Fund helped remove 63 tonnes of ghost gear from Canadian waters, thereby reducing threats to vulnerable fish stocks, marine mammals and vital ecosystems.
Today, the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, launched a second call for proposals under the Ghost Gear Fund to support three new priorities:
- Identification and removal of ghost gear within the Fraser River, British Columbia: The Fraser River is an important breeding ground for wild salmon and other important fish species, but they can get trapped in abandoned gillnets along the river. Removing derelict fishing nets will help support the survival of important Pacific fish stocks, including salmon.
- Identification and removal of ghost gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence: The Gulf of St. Lawrence is one of Canada’s most productive fishing areas and is also the summer home of endangered North Atlantic right whales. To support Canada’s measures for preventing right whale entanglements, ghost gear retrieval activities will take place in areas of known gear-loss, and in areas were right whales are known to frequent.
- Responsible Disposal: As more ghost gear is removed from Canadian waters, greater capacity is needed to dispose of it responsibly. Funding will be allocated to projects that will improve the disposal and recycling of ghost gear and end-of-life fishing gear.
Through the Ghost Gear Fund, the Government of Canada will provide up to $2 million in funding under this call for proposals. More information on the application criteria can be found at Canada.ca/ghost-gear. Proposals must be submitted by July 7, 2021 at 23:59 PST.
This call for proposals is funded under Budget 2021, which allocated $10 million to the Ghost Gear Fund to expand on its important work. At least 10% of the funding will go towards projects that are lead by Indigenous organizations and communities. The majority of the funding will be used to boost capacity of many successful ghost gear projects already taking place across the country through the first call for proposals in 2020. Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also use some of the funding to collect information on how ghost gear is impacting Arctic communities. This information will help the Department identify areas for future ghost gear removal and recycling activities to help protect northern ecosystems and the livelihoods of those who depend on them.
“Abandoned and lost fishing gear creates plastic pollution in our oceans and puts marine life at risk. Through Budget 2021 we’re investing $10M into the successful Ghost Gear Fund so we can continue supporting hardworking harvesters and coastal organizations in their efforts to clean up our oceans for a healthier future. The Ghost Gear Fund has made tremendous progress in removing harmful waste from our oceans, and has helped position Canada as a global leader in the fight against marine pollution. I can’t wait to see the incredible results that we are able to accomplish this year”.
The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- In 2020, the Ghost Gear Fund helped support the removal of 63 tonnes – the equivalent weight of 11 elephants – of lost or discarded fishing gear from coastal waters in Atlantic Canada.
- A Request for Proposals will be launched at a future date to support new projects to be undertaken in the Arctic.
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada