Commercial fishing gear loss in Canada's Pacific Ocean: answering the why, where, and how with a mixed methods, transdisciplinary approach

dc.contributor.authorFrenkel, Caitlin
dc.contributor.supervisorBan, Natalie Corinna of Environmental Studiesen_US of Science M.Sc.en_US
dc.description.abstractDerelict fishing gear comprises a large portion of the world’s marine plastic pollution, causing damage to marine habitats, wildlife, and fishing industries globally. To mitigate these issues, managers and marine stakeholders must understand the reasons for, and areas of, fishing gear loss specific to their region. Additionally, regional case studies are important to add to the global literature on derelict gear research. I conducted a global review of reasons for commercial gear loss, and used the findings to design a commercial fisher questionnaire in Canada’s Pacific region as a case study. I carried out these dockside and on-line questionnaires to record commercial fishers’ experiences with lost gear. Additionally, I used a species distribution model approach to identify variables associated with presence of derelict gear. Lost gear presence data for the model came from both the questionnaire and existing data for the region, and results from the previous literature review and questionnaire informed which environmental and fishing variables to include. I then used results from the model to predict areas with high probability of derelict gear occurrence. The global review highlighted that the most common reasons for gear loss were interactions with other fishing vessels and their gear, marine weather, and snagging on submerged features. Questionnaire results with 29 fishers indicated that snagging gear on rough substrate was the most important reason for loss across all gear categories, and that Hecate Strait, Clayoquot Sound, and the Strait of Georgia were prevalent areas of gear loss. Through the questionnaire, fishers indicated various ways to reduce gear loss including: using high quality gear that is well maintained, knowledge sharing amongst the fleet, preventing overcrowding in fishing areas, and keeping static and active gear types away from each other. The species distribution model approach indicated that bathymetry, fishing effort, and wind were the most important variables in derelict gear occurrence and predicted the highest probability of gear loss in similar areas as the survey. These results can support removal efforts and management decisions to mitigate issues caused by derelict gear by increasing the scientific understanding of the topic in Canada’s Pacific region.en_US
dc.rightsAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectfishing gearen_US
dc.subjectspecies distribution modelen_US
dc.subjectgear lossen_US
dc.subjectliterature reviewen_US
dc.titleCommercial fishing gear loss in Canada's Pacific Ocean: answering the why, where, and how with a mixed methods, transdisciplinary approachen_US


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