The recovery of a massive seine net near Pender Island, BC has been a challenging phased project from 2016-2018. The commercial seine net had been lost several decades ago ad discovered by divers, and through the years had attached itself to the ocean floor, significantly impacting the marine ecosystem.
Strong and erratic currents were among some of the difficulties divers experienced when extracting this giant net from the ocean floor. The net was found at depths exceeding 100 feet with some points of the net as deep as 140-150 feet which makes it extremely difficult to retrieve without more advanced deep diving equipment. Multiple boats, cranes and winches were employed along with multiple dives with commercial divers who were needed to recover the net section by section.
As part of a trans-boundary project in the summer of 2016 we had the pleasure of working with several organizations to continue the process of recovery. These groups included the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, World Animal Protection, Northwest Straits Foundation, Steveston Harbour Authority, Emerald Sea Protection Society, Rendezvous Dive Adventures, Archipelago Marine Research, Orca Spirit Adventures, Aquafil USA and Tsehum Harbour Authority. Approximately 75% of the net was recovered and recycled through Steveston Harbour Authority.
In 2018, we worked with the crew of Providence, a 100 year old fishing vessel turned supply vessel to retrieve another 10-15% of the material after initial difficulty locating the net. Additionally once the net was located recovery was very difficult due to adverse conditions during the project duration. This phase of the project was documented by Monument Creatives and will air on CBC on July 13, 2019 as part of the “Ghost Nets” documentary.
Emerald Sea will return to recover the remaining deep section of net along with any pieces that may have been missed over the last three removal projects.