It’s been stormy, and we’ve discovered lots of derelict fishing gear on our local beaches this month. What is derelict fishing gear? It includes fishing nets, lines, crab and shrimp pots and traps. When these items get lost or cut free, they keep killing marine animals, and cause other problems. We’ve seen nets floating in the bay and embedded in sand, below the high tide line. Because this gear is plastic, it lasts for hundreds of years, and will continue to kill and strangle marine animals until it’s removed.
The Baykeeper Team discovered and reported 5 derelict nets on our local beaches in November. Our own Todd Elsworth removed this particularly large net (photo above) on a north Bellingham beach during our Locust Beach cleanup last week. He found one end of the net near the high tide line, but most of the net and the dead chum salmon were tangled around a large driftwood log, lower down on the beach. Todd untangled the net, moved it away from the beach, and then reported it to the Northwest Straits Foundation Derelict Gear Reporting Hotline. Thanks, Todd!
If you find floating or embedded nets or pots, take photos. Take notes on their location, color, size, and what kind of wildlife is entangled. Then report them using this online form or phone number. It’s easy - use this online form or phone number:
Reporting Hotline: 1-855-542-3935
According to this website http://w)ww.derelictgear.org/, the Northwest Straits Commission and their contractors have removed 4,085 derelict fishing nets and 2,886 crab pots from Puget Sound, restoring 568 acres of critical marine habitat. That’s impressive!