Lobster Pot Recovery and Recycling in Gulf of Maine
Announcing one of the latest GGGI projects led by World Animal Protection in collaboration with GGGI members Gulf of Maine Lobstermen Foundation and NOAA.
An at-sea gear removal in the Gulf of Maine will coordinate recovery and recycling efforts in a lobster fishing area prone to high levels of gear conflict and associated gear loss. Local fishermen will drag grapple gear in areas where they are aware of gear having been lost or having high loss rates, and where grappling is a viable retrieval method that will not damage marine habitat. Vessels are hired in lobster management zones, working for two days in designated areas. The recovered gear is brought to a central wharf for sorting and processing, where viable gear is reclaimed by the owner and non-viable gear is removed and recycled courtesy of the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Fishing for Energy program, which has agreed to provide a bin and regular hauling services. Non-metal gear is collected by a waste-to-energy facility and powers the local community, and traps that are unusable are crushed and sold to a metal recycling company.
Locating and recovering the lost fishing gear can save thousands of dollars for local fishermen, prevent gear conflict, prevent the entrapment of local stocks, and protect the marine habitat. Data about by-catch, escape vent functionality, and age of trap are recorded for each trap, which will be valuable information for the Best Practice Working Group.
GGGI are delighted to endorse this solution project. The project went through a rigorous approval process; first through the cross-working group Project Review Board, and then onto the GGGI Steering Group for final sign off. The top line aims of the project are the following:
To gather and analyse ghost gear related data in the Gulf of Maine;
To remove ghost gear from the marine environment by at-sea grappling, employing institutional knowledge from local fishers;
To raise awareness of the negative impact of ghost gear among the local fishing industry, other stakeholders and the public;
To work with partners within the fishing industry and other stakeholders to create a long term sustainable model to prevent ghost gear entering the marine environment and to aid in its removal.