Maritime Shorts: Ghost gear, Marine Patrol, road map plans

Ghost gear 

NOVA SCOTIA — A study in southwest Nova Scotia estimated that abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, also known as ghost gear, account for more than $175,000 Canadian dollars in commercial losses annually.  

A team of researchers conducted 60 trips to retrieve the gear in one of Canada’s most productive lobster fishing regions and removed 7,064 kilograms of ghost gear – two-thirds of which were lobster traps. Those traps continued to capture species and the scientists found 239 lobsters and seven groundfish in the study. Buoys, rope and dragger cable were also retrieved and were either disposed of or repurposed. 

Most of the traps were believed to be less than 4 years old, though the oldest found was from 1987. Based on their markings, some of the debris likely originated from the U.S., likely traveling northward from the southern Gulf of Maine, according to the study. Tires, party balloons and a fan belt were also recovered.  

“While fishers often attempt to retrieve gear when it becomes lost during the fishing season, regular retrieval is challenging due to regulatory requirements, relocation issues, and lack of resources,” the study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin last month read. “Thus, allowing (abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear) to persist, potentially continues to indiscriminately catch commercially valuable lobsters and other species and contributes to the growing problem of marine debris.” 


Marine Patrol 

AUGUSTA — The Department of Marine Resources has sworn in three new Marine Patrol officers who will serve the Downeast region.  

Kaelyn Kuni, of Saco, Lexis Elston, of Windham, and Tim Beauchamp, of York, joined the force late last month.  

“These new officers will add much-needed coverage in the busy Downeast region,” said Colonel Jay Carroll. “Each one brings significant unique and relevant experience to the positions. They provide a depth of knowledge and background in resource issues and law enforcement which are vital in the work of a Maine Marine Patrol Officer.” 

Marine Patrol is the law enforcement arm of the DMR that also provides search and rescue, public health and maritime security along the Maine coast. 


Road map plans 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are taking comment on two plans that will establish a road map for federal agencies to “increase the overall effectiveness and productivity of federal aquaculture regulation, research and technology transfer,” according to the agencies.   

Through the plans, officials are working to increase the nation’s seafood supply, create jobs in coastal communities and enhance commercial and recreational fisheries.   

The plans, called the Strategic Plan to Enhance Regulatory Efficiency and the Strategic Plan for Federal Aquaculture Research, are both available in the federal registry. 

The comment period on both plans is open through Sept. 18.  

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