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

New development will pay homage to fallen World War One pilot

1015 Cook St. will become 28 market rental homes with mural

PHOTOS: Families, spectators wave goodbye to Navy Task Force from Victoria shorelines

HCMS Winnipeg and HCMS Regina sailing to Hawaiian training exercise, further deployments

Fate of newspaper boxes in Victoria to be decided in September

The motion to remove newspaper boxes will be heard at the Sept. 3 meeting

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada vows retaliatory measures as Trump restores tariff on Canadian aluminum

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Cowichan RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Island youth starts virtual race against racism

Cailyn Collins says people can take part in the cause from anywhere

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Most Read