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

Need a doctor in Sooke? You may be in luck

In anticipation of recruiting more doctors, medical clinic accepting applications for a waitlist

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

Victoria bells join cacophony marking 75th anniversary of Japanese bombings

Bells ring Aug. 6, 9 in remembrance of the victims of Nagasaki, Hiroshima

Suspect in custody after early morning break and enter at downtown Victoria business

Woman located leaving Johnson Street with stolen merchandise, police say

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Airlines dispute Dr. Henry’s claim they ‘very rarely’ give accurate COVID contact tracing info

Air Canada, WestJet say they provide names and contact information

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Sooke Fall Fair hosts scarecrow contest

The contest is open to both local businesses and Sooke residents

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

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

Most Read