A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-supported program will address abandoned gear off the coast of Massachusetts. Commercial diving services will play an important role in the upcoming "Fishing for Derelict Gear in Cape Cod and Massachusetts Bays" effort. The Center for Coastal Studies is behind the project, and according to an official press release, will begin the fifteen-month long effort next year.
While the CCS has overseen similar projects in the past, this new one is based on a $95,283 grant from the NOAA. This organization operates the Marine Debris Recovery Program to clean up litter, crab traps, fishing nets and other detritus around the world. The efforts follow the fiscal calendar from October to September: The CCS project is planned to take place during the winter only.
CCS Project Coordinator Laura Ludwig told CapeCod.com about the details of the project, and she explained why the debris removal will take place during winter.
"That is the time when the Massachusetts lobster fishery is on hiatus for the right whale season. So all of the lobster gear will be removed from Cape Cod Bay and parts of Massachusetts Bay so that we will not risk running into gear that is being actively fished, Ludwig said."
A press release from the Center for Coastal Studies noted its proposal faced a competitive approval process. According to this source, the NOAA reviewed 55 different proposals for marine debris and only approved 14, one of which was the CCS effort. The project will include local commercial diving services and lobstermen as well.
For companies with specific areas they work on, insurance for commercial diving may offer coverage for dangerous situations, and could assist in planning out new, long-term endeavors. During cold times of year, the risk for divers could be even higher.