Army Divers to Remove Derelict Fishing Nets from Puget Sound Depths | WA – DNR

Wonderful to see this collaboration of two governmental agencies. It should give the army divers a lot of great practice on a real world problem.

Department of Natural Resources, Army partnership will improve habitat in deep waters of San Juan County July 8-28   A new collaboration between the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Natural Resources Consultants and the U.S. Army’s 569th Engineer Dive Detachment will help improve wildlife habitat in Puget Sound waters in San Juan County by removing derelict fishing
— Read on

Ghost-net busters are entering a new era of hunting and removal – Kitsap Sun

Chris Dunagan gives us a great overview of the ongoing project of the NW Straits Foundation, which helps fund our Marine Resources Committees in the North Sound. This is good news for all of us for removing a legacy going back probably 50 years.

Chris Dunagan in Watching Our Water Ways writes: “My mind is unable to grasp, in any meaningful way, how much death and destruction was caused by fishing nets that were lost and abandoned through the years. Nearly 6,000 of these so-called “ghost nets” have been pulled from the waters of Puget Sound over the past 17 years. Until removed, they keep on catching fish, crabs and many more animals to one degree or another….”

Ghost-net busters are entering a new era of hunting and removal 

Foundation removes 5,667 lost fishing nets from Puget Sound – AP, KOMO, and others

nwstraits derelict

The boats used to haul up the derelict nets deliver the speakers to the celebration. Some of faces of the celebration.

Thursday in Everett, the Northwest Straits Initiative celebrated the culmination of it’s shallow water derelict net removal project. It’s been a great project and they hope to eventually get funding to go after the deep water nets next. But the numbers below are really impressive. The takeaways from today’s celebration was how politicians of both sides of the aisle actually came together to fund this project. Furthermore, both Republicans and Democrats who spoke, including Senator Patty Murray, hailed the fact that this is an environmental project that actually accomplished what it set out to do. The Northwest Straits fund our local Marine Resources Committee, which has established the eel grass protection zones in Port Townsend Bay, and helped implement and monitor shellfish protection zones in Mystery Bay and Lower Hadlock.

The Northwest Straits Initiative identified the problem of lost and abandoned (derelict) fishing gear in Puget Sound in 2001 and began removing this gear in 2002. Through the years, the program (now managed by the Northwest Straits Foundation) has combined aggressive removal operations with research and prevention outreach to combat this problem on all fronts. The simple goal is to eliminate harm from derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound. Over the course of 13 years, the program has evolved into a national model of how to effectively address this problem.

June 30, 2015 marked the culmination of the removal of shallow (to 105’) water legacy derelict nets in Puget Sound. 5,667 nets have been removed, recovering 812 acres of marine habitat and protecting from entanglement thousands of animals every year. This represents 94% of the estimated 6,000 nets lost over decades. This marks a major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound.

The removed nets contained over 450,000 entangled animals representing over 260 unique species, including 65 mammals, 1,092 birds, and 5,659 fish. Animals caught and killed in the gear include porpoises, seals, otters, diving birds like pigeon guillemots and cormorants, sharks, salmon, crabs, and octopus. Removing 5,667 nets has protected more than 1,700 mammals, 28,000 birds, 110,000 fish, and over 4.4 million marine organisms in total, from entanglement in derelict gear annually. More information about this effort can be found at Because of this net removal work, porpoises, diving birds, and fish can now swim and dive in Puget Sound without the risk of being entangled in derelict fishing nets. They now have free access to over 800 acres of marine habitat formally covered by dangerous derelict fishing nets.

In Puget Sound, derelict fishing nets were identified as a stressor on ESA listed marbled murrelets, salmon, and rockfish. Culmination of this work marks the successful completion of Near Term Action B3.2.1 in the 2014 Puget Sound Action Agenda, the comprehensive plan designed to clean up Puget Sound by 2020.

This work was supported by literally dozens of organizations and thousands of individuals over the years. Its final funding was supported by a bipartisan team of state legislators working across the aisle to solve this seemingly daunting problem.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is now working in collaboration with the fishing industry and fisheries co-managers to ensure that newly lost nets do not become. It is also developing methods to remove derelict fishing nets from deeper water and addressing the problem of derelict shellfish pots.

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees (MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities. Northwest Straits Foundation works with the MRCS to develop projects and attain funding support, as well as implement regional restoration and education programs, including its internationally-recognized Derelict Gear Removal Program. See www.nwstraitsfoundation.orgfor more information.

KOMO short piece on NW Straits Initiative ending it’s successful Derelict

This week the organization is celebrating the removal of 5,667 such nets, a feat it calls a “major milestone in the recovery of Puget Sound,” according to a news release. The foundation has removed 94 percent of about 6,000 nets reported as lost in Puget Sound.


Lost nets, crab pots pulled from Puget Sound waters
Divers pulled more than 5,660 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound’s shallow water — within 105 feet of the surface — as part of the work to remove lost and abandoned gear that had snared and indiscriminately killed marine life, sometimes for decades. Bellingham-based Northwest Straits Foundation led the project. It started in 2002 and ended June 30 this year. About 3,800 crab pots also were removed. Kie Relyea reports. (Bellingham Herald) See also: Long-running effort to remove deadly ghost nets reaches major milestone Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

Initiative’s feat: Ridding waters of nets – Everett Herald

This is the work of the organization that supports our Marine Resources Committees, both in Clallam and Jefferson County. It’s a great milestone. Real success at ridding one of the big scourges of the Salish Sea.

Knowing the deadly consequences abandoned fishing nets pose for marine life, a nonprofit has worked to remove 550 from Puget Sound this year alone. That brings to 5,600 the number of derelict nets the Northwest Straits Initiative and its partners have dragged out since 2002. The effect: restoring 800 acres of marine habitat. The group’s efforts to remove nets identified in shallow Puget Sound waters concluded in June. A celebration is scheduled Thursday in Everett to commemorate the milestone. Noah Haglund reports. (Everett Herald)’s-feat-Ridding-waters-of-nets

Fishing for Crab Pots – PT Leader

As the Chairman of the  Jefferson County Marine Resource Committee, which is funded by the NW Straits Foundation, that also funded this derelict gear effort, I’m very happy that NWS has been able to get this done in Port Townsend Bay. Thanks to the Port Townsend Leader for a very well done article.

Derelict crab pot removal underway in Port Townsend Bay

BELLINGHAM – Northwest Straits Foundation is saving Dungeness crab from ghost fishing with the removal this month of 280 derelict crab pots from Port Townsend Bay. The derelict crab pots were identified during a survey last month and are located throughout eleven square kilometers of Port Townsend Bay.


The project began on June 3 with the removal of 32 derelict crab pots and is schedule to be completed by July 3, opening day of recreational crabbing season. Removal operations will resume June 10 and are being coordinated by the Foundation’s Derelict Fishing Gear program field operations manager, Natural Resources Consultants. Operations are staged from the F/V Bet-Sea. A break in removal operations will occur during the Tribal crabbing window. The project is funded by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and crab endorsement fees that recreational crabbers pay through their annual fishing license.


Derelict crab pots are a significant threat to species, habitats and to the livelihoods that depend on healthy fisheries in Puget Sound. Northwest Straits Foundation estimates that over 12,000 crab pots are lost each year in Puget Sound. One derelict pot kills an average of 21 Dungeness crab per year while it continues to fish. The annual death toll on Dungeness crab of the pots lost each year is at least 178,000. This is estimated to cost $744,000 in harvestable crab and represents about 4.5% of the most recent commercial harvest in Puget Sound. Costs to the recreational fishery and lost revenue for marine-related businesses are significant.


The biological impacts of derelict pots are also significant. Dungeness crab is an important prey species as larvae and as juveniles and can account for up to 60% of the food in the diet of juvenile Chinook salmon. Adult crabs are important predators and scavengers, as well prey species for larger marine animals. And derelict crab pots can impact up to 35 square feet of habitat around the pot, depending on site conditions.


Crabber can take precautions to minimize crab pot loss. Crab pots often become derelict when the buoy line is clipped by a passing vessel or when pots are deployed in water that is too deep for the length of the line on the pot. Sometimes pots are lost because they are moved by tides or currents and are swept into deeper areas. Pots are frequently found in vessel traffic lanes and boaters out after dark have a challenging time seeing crab pot buoys.


About the Northwest Straits Foundation and the Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program

The Northwest Straits Foundation is the non-profit partner of the Northwest Straits Initiative, a collaborative model for marine conservation with a vision of diverse communities working together to restore a thriving marine ecosystem in the Northwest Straits of the Salish Sea. The Foundation works in partnership with the Northwest Straits Commission and seven local Marine Resources Committees(MRCs) of the Northwest Straits whose members represent the diverse stakeholders of their communities, and who identify and implement local marine conservation and restoration projects in their communities.


The Foundation’s internationally recognized Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program has been working collaboratively since 2002 with its funders and partners to rid Puget Sound of harm from derelict fishing gear. As of May 2014, Northwest Straits Foundation has removed over 3,400 derelict crab pots and over 4,700 derelict fishing nets from Puget Sound, documenting impacts to Dungeness crab and over 250 other Puget Sound species. In doing so we have restored more than 670 acres of important marine habitat.


Vanquishing Zombie Fishing Nets In Puget Sound – Earthfix

As a member of the Jefferson County Marine Resource Committee, we are part of the larger Northwest Straits Initiative that has been funding the work to remove derelict gear, including lost nets, from our Salish Sea. A good overview for those who don’t know the issue. A tiny portion of your tax dollars at work, and we could do a lot more if we had just a little more. Funding has been falling for these efforts in the last few years.

Doug Monk captains the 39-foot Bet Sea out into the waters of Puget Sound, just south of the Canadian border. He’s heading for a favorite fishing spot off Point Roberts, where a shallow shelf is lined with reefs and boulders. This is excellent habitat for migrating salmon and Dungeness crab. Monk has been a commercial diver on the Olympic Peninsula for some 20 years, harvesting shellfish and sea cucumbers, but for the past decade, he’s been after a different harvest: ghost nets.

Ashley Ahearn reports.

Whale death attributed to derelict fishing net – multiple sources

With the death of a whale in White Rock on Tuesday shining a spotlight on the health of our oceans, our government is being urged to get to work pulling old fishing gear out of the water.

The cleanup is happening in Washington state, but environmentalists say it’s a different story here in Canada. The whale in White Rock was entangled in some kind of line, and the Georgia Strait Alliance believes we can help prevent other sea creatures from meeting the same fate.

Environmentalists want old fishing gear cleaned up–environmentalists-want-old-fishing-gear-cleaned-up

See also: Immature humpback whale washes ashore, dies in White Rock

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