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Ghost net removal

Ghost net removal:

ghost net or derelict gill net removal

ghost net or derelict gill net removal

Ghost nets are nets which are lost on a reef or other underwater structure. These ghost nets continue to catch and kill unintended species of marine life ranging from marine mammals and invertebrates to fish and even birds. Ghost net removal is one of the aspects of our Volunteer Diver Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program.This program is 100% self funded by the proceeds of our DVD Kelp and Critters





 An article reviewing our program

Interview on CBC


This program was officially established in 2011 after one of our groups of divers found an abandoned gill net on one of our dive sites. It took 3 weeks to get a break in the weather before we could remove it. In that time it had snagged and killed many marine animals like fish, crab etc. and even birds such as cormorants. It was a slaughter of large proportions and it prompted us to write an outline that could be used to report and remove lost fishing gear. In cooperation with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the local gill net association we created a system by which the fishermen can report a lost net, DFO will register it and tell us, and we can remove it.

ghost net or derelict gill net removal

A ghost net covering a reef









The removal of nets in October and November 2011 has led to discussions with DFO to make reporting the loss of a net a mandatory condition of commercial fishing licenses, as well as the potential marking of the nets. Discussions on this are ongoing.

In the time that this program has officially been running we have successfully removed 7 full or partial gill nets, commercial and recreational prawn and crab traps, and our divers continue to bring up lost recreational gear such as flashers, hooks, lures, lead weights etc. We also saved countless fish and invertebrates caught in the nets.

In 2016 we teamed up with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and were involved in both filming and removing a purse seine net around Pender Island. Here is a short video on that removal project. In addition The Nanaimo Dive Outfitters have adopted our  program and are the second station on Vancouver Island to tackle the program of derelict fishing gear.

Seine net recovery at Pender Island with Global Ghost Initiative

Seine net recovery at Pender Island with Global Ghost Initiative © Aaron Jay


In October of 2016 we managed to hand a letter to pleading for a national program to the Liberal Party of Canada member Stan Sakomoto and the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

We are very honoured that we received a Coastal Ocean Award for this program. Many thanks to all who have made this program such a success !

Coastal Ocean Award 2017

Coastal Ocean Award 2017

For those interested in the net removal outline, you can download it here. IT IS NOT AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO START REMOVING NETS YOURSELF, BUT JUST FOR INFORMATIVE PURPOSES.


Here are a few video links to net removal events ran under the program:

Gill net removal dive site “Kyen Point”

Gill net removal dive site “Jupe Rock”

Gill net removal dive site “Diplock” ( TV interview shaw)



Net removal

Report derelict fishing gear

Report Derelict fishing gear: In order to get a better understanding of where derelict fishing gear is and how big the problem is we invite you to report any derelict fishing gear you may have found during a dive or when you entered or left the water. The information will be entered in a simple …

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