A Ghostly Issue: Managing abandoned, lost and discarded lobster fishing gear in the Bay of Fundy in Eastern Canada
Abandoned, lost and discarded (ALD) fishing gear causes economic losses and hazards to safety at-sea for fishers and marine fauna. Thirty-two lobster fishers and 5 individuals from fisheries management agencies were interviewed from the Bay of Fundy (BoF), Eastern Canada to determine how to mitigate risk to marine fauna from ALD fishing gear. Results show that fishers across four lobster fishing areas within the BoF regularly lost gear; gear that was often not retrieved. Although fishers informally notified each other of gear losses and sometimes returned retrieved gear to owners, they avoided retrieving old and unidentifiable gear, because possession of this gear is prohibited under their license conditions. Interviews identified specific reporting, regulatory and community-based solutions to help estimate, manage and mitigate ALD fishing gear. Legalizing gear retrievals and establishing waste management systems is required to manage and mitigate ALD gear at-sea.