At Sea Clean Up

Since 2012, the Center has collaborated with other stakeholders to conduct lost fishing gear recovery programs, working with Cape Cod fishermen and their boats to grapple back traps, rope, cable, buoys, and nets that had been lost over time.

Over the years, more than 20 tons of lost, abandoned, or derelict fishing gear has been removed from the Cape Cod Bay floor and either recycled, incinerated for energy, or returned to its owners.

The CCS mapping team uses sophisticated sonar equipment to conduct surveys of the ocean floor which reveal many lost lobster traps and other gear. The sonar imagery assists in the recovery effort, pinpointing targets for recovery.

Local fishermen then use grapples to snag and retrieve the gear.

Collaborating with fishermen, harbormasters, public works departments, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Office of Law Enforcement, these gear recovery projects have provided information and data to investigate by-catch, habitat impacts, and gear modification ideas to reduce the harmful or unintended impacts associated with lost fishing gear.

Funding for gear recovery work at the Center has been provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Fishing For Energy program and the NOAA Marine Debris Program, with support from generous contributors to the Center’s Marine Plastics Program.