Vancouver Island firms included in $8.3M grant to clean up 'ghost' fishing gear
Ottawa says it will spend $8.3-million in an effort to rid Canadian waters of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear. Capt. David Anderson, of Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, in Dana Point, Calif., shows a net that a whale was found entangled in Monday, Nov. 30, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Christine Armario)
VICTORIA -- The federal government says it will spend more than $8 million to clean up abandoned fishing gear, including from the coastal waters of British Columbia.
The $8.3-million grant announced Wednesday in Ottawa targets lost or abandoned fishing equipment, or "ghost gear," that can damage ocean wildlife and habitats.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says 26 projects in Canada and around the world will be included in the funding. Some of the grant recipients are Vancouver Island firms, including the Comox-based BC Shellfish Growers Association and the Victoria-based T Buck Suzuki Foundation.
Other recipients are based in nearby Vancouver and Seattle, including the Emerald Sea Protection Society, Natural Resources Consultants, the Ocean Legacy Foundation and the Pacific Prawn Fishermen’s Association.
Ottawa has set a target to protect 25 per cent of the world's oceans by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.
The Fisheries department says abandoned fishing gear is one of the largest contributors to marine litter globally.
"It is one of the deadliest forms of plastic debris and poses serious danger to marine animals like whales and turtles, the coastal and marine environment, and global fishing stocks," the ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
"All projects fall into at least one of four categories: gear retrieval, responsible disposal, acquisition and piloting of available gear technology, and international leadership."
Outside of British Columbia, portions of the federal government grant will fund similar marine cleanup projects in Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.