Vancouver Island submersible craft catches ‘ghost’ fishing gear from BC ocean floor – Victoria News
A Nanaimo underwater technology company helped recover “ghost” fishing gear from environmentally sensitive waters off the British Columbia coast this spring.
Seamor Marine Ltd. recently sent one of its remote-operated vehicles on a clean-up mission to the traditional marine territory of the Lax Kw’alaams near Prince Rupert.
Ghost fishing gear, such as stray nets and traps, can entangle fish, marine mammals and birds as well as damage sensitive marine life habitat and boats, a Seamor press release noted. Marine.
Lax Kw’alaams Fishing Enterprises and Shift Environmental Technologies surveyed the area and mapped concentrations of ghost gear, then, to recover abandoned crab pots, the team deployed a Seamor Chinook ROV with tether and assorted modular accessories. The ROV’s multibeam sonar and acoustic positioning system helped locate the debris in low visibility conditions.
Chains of crab pots were located with towed or hull-mounted side-scan sonar. Contact sites were revisited with the ROV to obtain video footage of the targets, determine if they were recoverable, and identify crab trap rope locations. Then a grappling hook was dragged through the lines to be retrieved.
The ROV helped recover 630 kilograms of lost and abandoned fishing gear. The Port Edward Harbor Authority provided cleaning and storage facilities for recovered gear.
The two-year project was a joint venture between Lax Kw’alaams Fishing Enterprises and Shift Environmental with funding from the federal government, the First Nations Solid Waste Management Initiative and the T. Buck Suzuki Environmental Foundation. .
“It is exciting to see that the removal of ghost gear from Indigenous marine territories is a government priority,” said Robin Li, president of Seamor Marine, in the press release. “We are proud that our Chinook ROV has played a vital role in responsibly recovering and disposing of equipment, as well as developing best practices and providing ghost equipment data for future recovery operations. The Lax Kw’alaams community depends on its marine environment, so it is imperative to keep these ecosystems clean and healthy.
Seamor designs and manufactures remotely operated vehicles and modular accessories for underwater observation and inspection.