The Ghost Gear Fund, a federally funded program, has contributed $551,270 to Ocean Legacy Foundation to assist Nova Scotia in the clean up after Hurricane Fiona which struck the region a year ago.

B.C.-based Ocean Legacy Foundation is a Canadian non-profit that develops and implements worldwide plastic pollution response programs with the goal of ending plastic pollution.

The new funds will assist in the recovery and management of marine plastic waste and pollution following the impacts of the major storm. The hurricane increased the amount of derelict equipment and concentrations of ghost gear entering into Atlantic aquatic ecosystems. 

The funding will be used to expand existing networks across Maritime provinces, develop infrastructure, and increase local material management capacity with skill-based training for marine plastics within Atlantic communities.

Ocean Legacy will establish rope shredding and bailing capacity in Truro, NS. With its partners, it will perform outreach and material collection as well as work with Full Circle Plastics to continue developing lumber products made from materials collected during cleanup efforts, the group said in a statement.

“Strategically managing marine plastic waste and pollution across Canada while developing local capacity is absolutely critical in restoring sensitive coastal habitats, preserving vulnerable aquatic species and stimulating socio-economic development in communities recovering from natural disasters,” said Chloé Dubois, co-founder of the Ocean Legacy Foundation.

The Ghost Gear Fund is intended to support Canada’s commitment to prevent and mitigate the risk of ghost fishing and encourages the development of sustainable fishing practices, particularly as it applies to abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear domestically and abroad. To date, the Ghost Gear Fund has funded 91 projects, for a total of $26.7 million.