“Collaborative action on preventing and developing sustainable solutions to end-of-life abandoned, lost and discarded fishing and aquaculture gear, and associated materials.”
The Coalition has 3 main areas of focus – called pillars:
Since forming in November 2018, the Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada (FGCAC) has been working collaboratively on preventing and recovering end-of-life abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing and aquaculture gear and developing sustainable solutions to retrieve and recycle these materials. The FGCAC is a not-for-profit corporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act. The Coalition is composed of over 60 members from various backgrounds including industry, government, indigenous communities, academia, and the public. While the FGCAC is composed primarily of members from Atlantic Canada there is also representation from across the country and the United States. The Coalition works collaboratively on resource management, retrieval, communications, and research. FGCAC has proven effective in laying the groundwork to fill these gaps, while working alongside government and industry, as well as other stakeholders and rights holders. The Coalition holds monthly conference calls to share knowledge and keep all members informed of ongoing activities, with individual working groups focused on specific areas of concern, such as responsible disposal, ALDFG hot-spot mapping, and ALDFG retrieval logistics.
On November 27th and 28th, 2018 at the Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Clean Ocean Summit, hosted by Clean Foundation, aimed to create a setting that would foster the sharing of solutions and generate a supportive environment for building networks and partnerships. These partnerships were self-selected into Action Groups consisting of members who all cared for and accepted responsibility in being a part of real, focused solutions. With the help of the Summit’s Facilitators, the Action Groups were formed: Fishing Gear, Ocean Literacy, and Single-Use Plastics. In the late spring of 2019, the Fishing Gear Action Group rebranded as the Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada and upkeeps monthly conference calls. During Clean Summit 2.0, on November 18th and 19th, 2019 at the Harbourfront Marriott Hotel in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the group expanded as more members were brought on. Our membership is interdisciplinary, with members from industry, indigenous communities, non-profits, government, academia and the general public.
Atlantic Canada is highly dependent on the resources and ecosystem services provided by the ocean, and therefore have a vested interest in protecting and maintaining a healthy marine environment. Ghost gear and marine pollution pose a significant threat to the Atlantic Canadian social, economic, and natural capital by threatening water quality, habitat, commercial fish stocks, the safety of marine navigation, and the natural beauty of our coastal communities and recreation sites. While much of the pollution entering our oceans originates on land, there is a particular threat posed by the improper disposal of fishing-related waste, which includes fishing nets, traps, buoys, ropes, vessel fuel and oil, and the disposable consumer items used by fishers. Lost or abandoned fishing gear, also known as ‘ghost gear’, has now become one of the most common issues that is threatening the health of the Atlantic’s fishing industry.