Shellfish businesses, especially those producing oysters, will get some help for environmental clean-up. File photo

Shellfish businesses, especially those producing oysters, will get some help for environmental clean-up. File photo

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

The shellfish industry is getting some help to deal with plastic pollution because of some recently announced federal government money.

The BC Shellfish Growers Association (BCSGA) will oversee money this year and next to help businesses in the industry remove old baskets, ropes and other material left over from fish farming operations.

“We applied early this year, and we were lucky enough to receive $350,000,” said BCSGA executive director Jim Russell.

The association will receive $150,000 this year and $200,000 next year. The money is part of an $8.3-million announcement from the Fishers and Oceans Canada (DFO) for 26 projects or groups to clean up “ghost” fishing gear from the water.

“Fighting plastic pollution a priority for our government. We can’t have a healthy ocean or a strong blue economy if our waters are severely polluted by plastic. The overwhelming interest in the Ghost Gear Fund demonstrates that Canadians share this priority and want to be a part of the solution,” Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan said in a July 8 news release.

Currently, there are 226 shellfish farms in the province using “suspending culture” or floating techniques out of about 500 total. Over years, even decades, a lot of equipment has been lost to the seabed where it can have a detrimental effect on fish and their habitat.

Businesses can now apply to the association for funds to help with the clean-up of debris underneath farms, said Russell. The money is coming at a good time when some of the businesses could use some help to conduct clean-up work. The program will cover 50 per cent of the costs for work.

“In the course of decades, some equipment has broken away and fallen to the bottom, mostly plastic trays,” he said. “It’s ultimately the shellfish farmer’s responsibility to make sure that materials and recovered and disposed of properly.”

All shellfish operations are eligible, but Russell expects this funding will primarily affect the oyster business, including ones in this area.

“They’re the most likely candidates because they use a lot of trays,” he said. “Baynes Sound is certainly going to be a priority.”

Other areas likely include the Gulf Islands and the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

DFO and the Province have regulations about operating sites in a safer and sanitary manner, but the industry has faced leaner times of late, Russell said, so the funding will help the businesses immediately.

“It should help speed clean-up,” he added.

RELATED STORY: Denman Island volunteers clean up at least eight tonnes of beach debris

According to DFO, more than 8 million metric tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year around the world.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Fish FarmsPlastic waste

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C. set up the tube where rainbow trout were released into Spider Lake on Thursday, March 4, 2021. (Michael Briones photo)
Fishing time: 1,800 rainbow trout released into Spider Lake

Society records spike in fishing licences during pandemic

A map showing where the new developments for affordable housing will be located on Moilliet Street in Parksville. (submitted photo)
Parksville city council approves development permit for 87 housing units

Development to include four-storey apartment and eight townhouses

Tree clearing and grubbing will take place March 8 for the French Creek Water Pollution Control Centre upgrade and expansion project. (PQB News file photo)
Work scheduled for March 8 as part of $48.5M French Creek Pollution Control Centre expansion project

Resident questions Regional District of Nanaimo regarding lack of activity to date

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read