Group wins $2.7 million to tackle ghost gear
The Center for Coastal Studies, located in Provincetown, has been granted more than $2.7 million in federal money to haul lost or abandoned fishing gear out of the environment.
The money comes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program and will be used to pull up the so-called “ghost gear” from Maine to Massachusetts over a three-year period. The award came through a competitive process under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Ghost gear is a problem because it continues to kill lobsters and fish even unattended. It also breaks down over time, releasing microplastics into the ocean.
To do the cleanup, the Center is partnering with six other organizations: the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, OceansWide, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, and Net Your Problem. They are seeking another half-million dollars in matching funds to make the money go farther.
“The issue of ghost gear is so enormous that even in this discrete region no one entity could handle that issue,” said Laura Ludwig, coordinator of the Marine Debris and Plastics Program at the Center.
“It’s critical to collaborate across the region because we all share the Gulf of Maine,” she said, noting that all the groups involved have extensive experience doing this kind of work.
The groups will remove the gear from the coastline and ocean and recycle it or dispose of it properly. Gear that is still in usable condition will be returned to its owner.