End-of-life Fishing Gear Management Feasibility Study

Finding long-term solutions
for end-of-life fishing gear


The FGCAC’s End-of-Life Fishing Gear Management Study, conducted across Canada’s Eastern provinces in 2021, resulted in the publication of highly useful information about the life cycle of fishing gear, but revealed a worrying picture of the region’s marine waste management practices. During the course of study, numerous barriers to the proper disposal and recycling of fishing waste were identified, and solutions imagined. Armed with a now-clearer picture of the issues facing harvesters, authorities, and waste management, the FGCAC has launched a pilot program aimed at ameliorating disposal, and the processes which follow.

As part of the FGCAC’s End-of-life Fishing Gear Management Project funded by the DFO’s Ghost Gear Fund, we have developed a program model that is well-researched, satisfies stakeholders and rights holders concerns, and provides a financially self-sufficient management program for PVC-Coated wire mesh, wire lobster traps, oyster cages, fishing rope and netting in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. During the course of the feasibility study, materials collected from waste management facilities will be diverted from landfill and tipping fees waived. This project is underway as of August 1st, 2022.


Wire Lobster Traps

Working with American Iron and Metal (AIM), we are collecting, removing, and recycling traps from personal and commercial property

Rope and Netting

Working with our European
recycling partner Plastix Global, rope will be shipped to facilities which can recycle waste in myriad ways


We will accurately document the environmental, social, and economic results of wire lobster trap removal and recycling

Develop Consensus

Manage fishing and aquaculture waste in a manner that satisfies all stakeholders

Sonia Smith

Project/Stakeholder Manager

Sonia began working with harbour authorities, fishers, small craft harbours, and the aquaculture industry in 2014 when she took over the delivery of the Clean Foundation’s Ship-to-Shore Program. Ship-to-Shore provided education, support, and resources to help harbour authorities across Nova Scotia find better ways to properly manage waste on fishing vessels and wharves. With these partnerships and the support of small craft harbours, the program was successfully delivered for 10 years. Sonia was given the opportunity in 2019 to work with UOMA Atlantic by providing education and resources for the new Used Oil Recycling and Management Program and is now employed with them part-time covering the Maritime Provinces. As a member of the FGCAC, Sonia was also the Project Lead and then Program Manager for the FGCAC End of Life Fishing Gear Management Project, funded under the Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution Program.

Krista Beardy

Project Lead

Krista Beardy is a UNB researcher whose work examines the abundance and distribution of microplastics in sediment and invertebrates in intertidal sites in the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. As the Marine Debris Program Coordinator with the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (2017 -2019), Krista secured and managed funds from federal, provincial, municipal and industry sources. She has been the project lead on various plastic studies in both the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence regions. She was responsible for the planning and execution of both field and laboratory components of these studies and was also responsible for data analysis, conference proceedings and writing of the final reports. Krista has presented her research at various conferences including the Bay of Fundy Ecosystem Partnership Conference in both 2018 and 2022.

Alex Robben

Marine Debris and Administrative Coordinator

Alex Robben is a recent graduate of Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. Alex hails from a research and communications-centric background, earning a major in History and a double minor in Geography and Environmental Studies. Prior to joining the FGCAC, Alex worked as a journalist for The Argosy, and as an archivist and interpretive guide for a non-profit museum in Truro, Nova Scotia. In both academia and employment, Alex has been responsible for the communication and preparation of detailed research on topics ranging from invasive species to wetlands management, and foreign policy to regional economic development.




Marine Debris and Administrative Coordinator

Alex Robben - info@fgcac.org