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How to Prepare Ghost Gear for Recycling

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How should old fishing nets and ropes be prepared for recycling?

In this video, we provide you with six easy steps to follow in order to properly prepare your used, broken, abandoned, and discarded fishing gear for recycling.

We separate the nets by type of plastic, rinse them in clean water, and store them in a dry, secure location after removing any metal weights and buoys. By taking these actions, you can lessen the impact that ghost gear has on marine ecosystems and, depending on how many nets you recycle, you can also raise money for your neighbourhood. Never burn or throw away used nets or ropes because doing so harms the environment and you.

What is Ghost Gear?

Ghost fishing gear, in particular, is one of the biggest threats to our oceans. Any fishing equipment that has been left behind, misplaced, or otherwise thrown away is referred to as “ghost gear,” including nets, line, rope, traps, pots, and floats. Other common terms include derelict fishing gear (DFG) and abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG). These marine pollutants are among the most dangerous objects in our oceans and can kill fish, marine mammals, and other marine life. They also present a navigational risk and decompose into other pollutants like microplastics.

Ghost gear is primarily caused by snagging, tangles with other fishing gear, weather, and accidentally being cut by passing marine traffic. Intentional discard by harvesters is less common and typically results from IUU (illegal, unreported, and unregulated) fishing, in which boats may cut loose their gear to avoid being apprehended by authorities.

More than eight million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans every year, and between 600,000 and 800,000 metric tons of ghost gear are thought to enter the oceans annually globally. In the Canadian Arctic, ghost gear has been identified as a significant source of marine debris, much of which comes from offshore.

Ghost gear is a threat to Canada’s waters and the rest of the world, and we have recognized this and made it a national priority. We are dedicated to taking effective measures to support ghost gear prevention, recovery, and responsible disposal by working with numerous organizations, including:

  • Indigenous groups
  • fish harvesters
  • the aquaculture industry
  • non-profit organizations
  • communities

Let’s work together to keep our oceans free from ghost gear.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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