Shellfish businesses, especially those producing oysters, will get some help for environmental clean-up. File photo

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

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

BC Transit is investigating a ‘rapid bus’ action plan for Greater Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Transit launches investigation after passenger fall from upper deck

A passenger went to hospital after a fall from the upper deck

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read