In this episode, Dr. Sondra Eger is joined by Matt Abott, the Fundy Baykeeper at Conservation Council of New Brunswick. Matt Abott has collaborated with both of the guests of this episode: Jillian Mitchell, Fundy North Fishermans Association (FNFA), and Dr. Melanie Wiber, a professor emerita in anthropology at the University of New Brunswick.
Something is haunting our oceans… and it’s trapping aquatic species and threatens fishers harvesting operations! In part 2 of this plastic ocean mini-series, Coastal Connections focus on ghost gear: old and damaged fishing lines, traps, and aquaculture infrastructures that become loose in the ocean and continue fishing unattended.
So, what’s being done to address this global issue? In this episode, you’ll find out by learning about community-led ghost gear initiatives. Hosts will investigate where this gear is coming from, how it is being tracked, where some of the most problematic areas, how the gear can be retrieved, and finally, strategies for preventing ghost gear in the first place!
Dr. Melanie Wiber shares information about a 3-year project that was initiated by the FNFA to gain local knowledge on areas vulnerable to ghost gear in the Bay of Fundy. Together, researchers and fishermen were able to put together an interactive map that highlights areas susceptible to marine debris, which has social and economic impacts. Not only does ghost gear contribute to marine pollution, it can also affect fishermen and create more ghost gear! Jillian Mitchell gives insight into the complex, compounding effects of ghost gear and some solutions for cleanup efforts, including annual retrieval projects and subsequent recycling efforts! Together, hosts and guests will show that sharing knowledge is critical to tackling these global issues across multiple scales.
Listen to the full episode here: