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Clear the Coast
Help Living Oceans locate and remove marine debris on and around northern Vancouver Island shorelines.
Tell us what you found so we can assess the impacts on our beaches and estuaries.
Marine debris can be as harmful to ocean ecosystems as destructive fishing practices. Tonnes of plastic waste are circulating on ocean currents and breaking down into smaller and smaller particles, often ending up on or inside seabirds, marine mammals and fish. Lost fishing gear can entangle and kill many marine species. Closer to shore, debris accumulates on beaches including near-shore waters like estuaries that have a high conservation value. Derelict and abandoned vessels are a threat to pollute harbours and other coastal areas.
Mapping marine debris will show us the location, amount and types of debris that has been collected. An online reporting form is available for volunteers to report what they find and remove. Reports will be posted on the Clear the Coast map indicating how and where marine waste pollutes our coastal ecosystems and the successful accomplishments of community clean-up efforts.
Derelict and abandoned vessels are hazards—but not just to navigation. They can leak hydrocarbon pollutants and other harmful toxins into the ocean. Living Oceans is researching how derelict vessels impact marine ecosystems and how lessons learned and best practices from vessel removal efforts in other places can be applied on northern Vancouver Island. This research will provide local harbour managers, marinas and other businesses with a starting point to develop local solutions to the hazards and pollution problems posed by abandoned and derelict vessels.
Marine debris in intertidal zones
People on the B.C. coast are increasingly concerned about floating debris ending up on their shores.
We are coordinating the efforts of local volunteers, community organizations, service clubs, businesses and local governments that want to pitch in and help clean up the shores of northern Vancouver Island. We’re organizing the drive to locate, remove and dispose of the debris. A key part of this work is monitoring locations where debris is sighted and indicating these on our Clear the Coast interactive map.
Old and derelict vessels are another form of debris and a threat to the marine environment. Their growing presence and disposal is becoming a growing concern for marina operators on B.C.'s coast. These vessels become point sources of pollution impacting local marine ecosystems and if anchored or abandoned on beaches, may become hazards to navigation.
Ghost fishing gear
Even after it’s lost, fishing gear continues to fish by trapping or entangling sea life. Local organizations and volunteers want to find and remove lost crab traps from recreational fishing areas in and near estuaries. We are collecting the information reported during these cleanup efforts into the Clear the Coast map that shows how and where the ghost gear interacts with important habitat like kelp beds and eelgrass meadows.
This project was undertaken with the financial support of: