Ghost Fishing: Prawn & Crab Trap Clean Up

On Saturday, July 11, 2015, 7 of us met at Esquimalt Lagoon (south end) to survey the area as a potential site for the August 29, 2015 clean up.
We divided up into 3 teams. Team 1 (Jim Dixon, Grayson Russell and Rupert Evans) swam north at 35′ and did not find any traps.
Team 2 (Jason Brownlee and Bill Golley) surface swam out to a float and descended with Team 3 (Liz Tribe and Jeffrey Cholak).
Teams 2 and 3 determined that the float they descended on displayed evidence that it was abandoned due to the amount of growth on the float, line and trap itself. Inside the trap were several starfish and dead crabs as well as live crabs. We disabled the trap. We swam at 50′ until we reached a trap with lines running in opposite directions. Teams 2 and 3 separated and surveyed the traps that were connected with this line in opposite directions.
Team 3 counted 7 traps connected together running in a southerly direction parallel to shore between 50′ and 60′. We did not reach the end of the connected line of traps. Each trap had between 10-12 live crabs in it. Team 2 followed the line of traps in a northerly direction. Team 2 counted 5 traps at 52-55′. We were unable to conclude whether or not these traps were abandoned. Lee Critchley, who was unable to participate in the dives due to dental issues, later shared that he had heard that commercial fishermen are known for dropping a long string of traps parallel to shore to save storage costs for their traps during the off season. We suspect that this may be the case with the string of traps and will investigate further.
Teams 2 and 3 also located an old trap that was mostly broken down at 34′. The trap was not Ghost Fishing as there is not much left of it.
Total number of traps located: 14
Total actively Ghost Fishing: 1
Total abandoned, not Ghost Fishing: 1
Total with status undetermined: 12
Total active traps: 0

1) The string of connected traps needs to be investigated further to determine whether or not they are legitimately being used.
2) This site offers good potential for the August 29, 2015 clean up; however, it is a large area to cover and the traps are quite spread out. The use of scooters and boats will be essential for efficient work.
3) The majority of traps are 50′ or deeper which is a substantial surface swim from shore.
4) The area is ideal to spread awareness and promote education as if is frequented by a number of people who expressed interest in what we were up to.
5) The need for boat support will require that we locate a nearby boat launch.
Ghost Fishing Survey
It is time to start making the crab and prawn trap clean up we had previously discussed come to action! To get started, we need to gauge interest and resources. We need a combination of boats, divers and photographers. If you are interested in this, please PM me or email me ( and I can put together a list of people who want to be involved and we can get the planning underway.

More information about the Ghost Fishing initiative can be found at:


Great news! Ghost Fishing experts Karim Hamza and Heather Hamza will be joining us for the August 29, 2015 clean up. Karim and Heather will be giving a presentation on the evening of Friday, August 28, 2015 on Ghost Fishing. They will also be conducting a workshop during the event for those wishing to learn more about liftbag use.

Karim and Heather have spent a number of years working to clean the abandoned nets of the wreck of the Infidel out of Los Angeles. More information about their work can be found here:

Please join me in welcoming Karim and Heather onboard with our project!

Based on the feedback, I am going to set the date of this for Saturday, August 29, 2015 in Victoria. In the meantime, what we need to do is the following:

1) Arrange several fundraisers for the event. A possible one is a charity carwash and BBQ at Westview Ford, we would get to keep all the proceeds we collect for our cause. The funds raised would go towards cover the fuel for people who provide boats and promotional materials. A big component of this event needs to be awareness.
2) Survey potential sites and determine which areas require the clean up the most. Also note which sites have traps/nets which have been colonized by life and would be damaging to the life if we removed them. If you are diving in any of the proposed locations, please email me ( with your data.
3) Spread awareness! Tell your non-diving friends and family what we have planned for August 29 and ask them to show up with the opportunity to purchase the abandoned traps at a discounted price but also learn about how to set them properly to prevent loss and abandonment. Proceeds from the sold traps will go towards the Ghost Fishing cause.
4) If you are wanting to participate in a diving capacity and do not have experience using SMBs and lift bags, please contact me and I will arrange a workshop so everyone who is in the water and diving has the skills they need to be safe.
5) Keep the discussion and communication going! I will create an event on this page for discussions.
Thanks everyone for your support and feedback!