Lost and discarded fishing gears are capturing species at risk and lobster in Canada

Updated Aug 1, 2021
Lost and discarded fishing gear dumped off the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia — site of Canada's most lucrative lobster fishery — is trapping species at risk and hurting the lobster industry, a new scientific study says. Researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax determined the abandoned traps, ropes, hooks and other equipment are costing the lobster industry nearly $200,000 annually in lost catches.
"When it starts impacting the bottom line of one of the most important industries in Nova Scotia ... it becomes apparent that we need to do something about it," the study's co-author, associate professor Tony Walker, said in an interview Friday. "We can actually make more money if we clean up our act." In 2019, the landed value of Nova Scotia lobsters was $880 million — more than half of the Canada's overall total. While the scourge of so-called ghost gear is a global problem, the study is described as the first of its kind to provide a preliminary assessment of its environmental and economic impacts. The findings are based on what researchers found last summer and fall when five fishing boats were used to haul in more than seven tonnes of lost, discarded and abandoned gear. The vessels conducted 60 trips, covering 1,500 square kilometres. Lobster traps made up the 66 per cent of the gear pulled to the surface. Other gear included cables, ropes, marker buoys and other marine ...
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