Canadian project recognized as a winner of this year’s Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award
Alongside Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) and the Joanna Toole Foundation, we are so proud to announce the winners of the third annual Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award. The winners are the Coastal Restoration Society in Canada and the Myanmar Ocean Project.
The Coastal Restoration Society (CRS) is a nonprofit based in British Columbia, specializing in habitat restoration within traditional First Nation territories in support of Indigenous stewardship values. The organization works on a wide variety of marine issues, including ghost gear removal.
CRS, which has been a GGGI member since 2020, works with maritime professionals, environmental scientists, and First Nations stewards, for all projects, including shoreline cleanups, derelict vessels removals, and aquaculture remediation, in an effort to bring key stakeholders to the table.
Partnering with Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS) Ahousaht and British Columbia Parks, CRS will use their Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award to fund and conduct ghost gear retrievals within Ahousaht First Nation unceded territory in Clayoquot Sound. Focusing on mitigation and restoration, they will identify areas with high levels of ALDFG, remove at least 90% of gear from those targeted areas in the span of four days, and work with local recycling and waste facilities to recycle, creatively upcycle, or responsibly dispose of the debris. The CRS project seeks to remove debris and restore critical habitats for keystone species.
Their 'First Nations First' policy ensures that meaningful employment, contract, skill development and training opportunities are provided to local Indigenous peoples first. This removal project in Clayoquot Sound will offer employment opportunities for local members of the Ahousaht Nation who have been impacted by COVID-19, providing long-lasting skills and training for members of the community while restoring culturally and environmentally significant areas.
The Myanmar Ocean Project is a nonprofit working to raise awareness of ocean conservation in Myanmar and support solutions to the problem of ghost gear across the country. The organization, which has been a GGGI member since 2019, conducts surveys and cleanup expeditions across the Myeik Archipelago, one of the most untouched island groups in the world that has still been impacted by ghost fishing gear.
Through the Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions award, the Myanmar Ocean Project will interview fishers in the region to better understand local gear loss and use this data to identify ghost gear hotspots and create education materials for fishers and the public.