CCS receives NOAA funds to conduct fishing gear recovery project

October 3, 2016

Local fishermen collaborate with CCS to retrieve derelict fishing gear.

Local fishermen collaborate with CCS to retrieve derelict fishing gear.

The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $95,283 through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Marine Debris Program (MDP) to work with commercial fishermen to identity, remove, document, and properly dispose of lost, abandoned or derelict fishing gear.

The fifteen-month project, entitled “Fishing for Derelict Gear in Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bays,” will identify likely areas where gear exists, survey those areas with side-scan sonar to locate targets, and work with commercial lobstermen and divers to recover the lost gear during the winter of 2017. Once recovered, gear may be returned to the owner (if identifiable), repurposed, recycled or disposed of at a waste-to-energy plant.

Previous removal efforts conducted by CCS in Cape Cod Bay recovered over 16 tons of lobster, gillnet, dragger, trawl and recreational fishing gear, including 660 lobster traps, of which half were returned to the owners.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers an annual nationwide competitive funding opportunity to support projects that focus on community-based marine debris removal. Of 55 proposals received by the program this year, the CCS proposal was one of only 14 funded through a highly competitive, year-long application and review process. “We are pleased that the Center for Coastal Studies was selected to conduct this important project and look forward to learning more about the presence and impacts of derelict fishing gear in Massachusetts as a result,” said MDP Regional Coordinator Dr. Keith Cialino. “The collaborative design of this proposal, its efficient use of equipment and personnel, and the organization’s experience were some of the strongest features recognized by the reviewers.”

Throughout the project, CCS will work closely and share data with the NOAA MDP, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Massachusetts Historical Commission and Massachusetts lobstermen’s associations, as well as the Provincetown Harbormaster’s Office, and will contract with commercial lobstermen and divers to conduct the recovery work.

For more information on this CCS program or to request an application for participation in the recovery project, please contact Laura Ludwig at lludwig@coastalstudies.org.