Steveston Harbour continues to be involved with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). In April, 2016, a joint operation of GGGI members set out to recover a lost purse seine net off the coast of Pender Island, British Columbia. This project was a joint effort between World Animal Protection (WAP), Northwest Straits Foundation (NWSF), Emerald Sea Protection Society (ESPS), Archipelago Marine Research, Rendezvous Dive Adventures and Steveston Harbour Authority (SHA) with additional support from Aquafil USA, Orca Spirit Adventures and Tsehum Harbour Authority.
The project took place over two days and during that time, divers from NWSF and ESPS brought up over 4,500 pounds of seine net that had been draped over a reef indiscriminately killing fish and crustaceans for over three decades. Once the net had been removed, it was taken to Steveston Harbour for assessment to see if it was possible to recycle it or whether it had to be taken to a landfill. A video of the project that World Animal Protection produced can be viewed below.
Unfortunately, soon after the net arrived at Steveston Harbour, it had a very strong unpleasant odour and began to attract rats, flies and birds in large numbers, so the majority of it had to be sent to a landfill before it could be assessed for recycling. However, Steveston Harbour did keep a portion of the net to see if it could be cleaned well enough to be recycled. After a bit of hard work from Steveston Harbour staff and members from the ESPS, it was found that the net could indeed be cleaned well enough to be recycled. This information will be very valuable for future ghost net recovery projects not just in British Columbia, but all over the world through the GGGI. A short SHA produced video of the cleaning process can be viewed below.