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Northeast Partners Remove Two Tons of Derelict Gear

MAY 25, 2018 — On May 8, divers, lobstermen, and partners from the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation and World Animal Protection worked together to remove a two-ton mass of fishing gear from Dyer Cove near Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The gear is thought to be the largest collection removed from the Gulf of Maine in the last 10 years.

A large ball of marine fishing nets being pulled up to a dock.
In May 2018, World Animal Protection and the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation organized a project with local fishermen to remove lost fishing gear from Casco Bay.

Usually hauled to the surface one at a time, derelict pots may continue fishing long after they are lost at sea, posing threats to animals, navigation, and active fishing gear. In this location, gear had been accumulating for some time as one lobsterman noted that the mesh size featured in some of the removed nets hadn’t been used in decades.

The nets and pots were taken back to the wharf in Portland, where partners spent hours cutting the line into small pieces for recycling at ecomaine. The Marine Debris Program supported the dumpster rental to safely secure the gear before pickup.

While the group is very proud of their success, they know there is more work to be done. Lobstermen have reported an even bigger ball of gear located about 300 feet from the one removed this month. Plans are underway to assess a larger cleanup in the future.

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