A Program for Marine Debris Prevention and Correction in the Bay of Fundy November 2015 Journal

By Reba McIver, Marine Debris Program Coordinator, Huntsman Marine Science Centre

This September a Marine Debris program for the southwest Bay of Fundy was formed through the collaborative effects of the Marine Debris Strategy Advisory Committee (MDSAC). The MDSAC is a multi-stakeholder group of municipal, provincial, federal government, non-government, First Nations, University of New Brunswick, Fisheries organizations, and Aquaculture Industry stakeholders. The Marine Debris program will focus on the coastline west of Saint John New Brunswick, and east of the Canada/US border. The general aims of the program are both preventative and corrective: a) Work with all marine users and the wider community to reduce the amount of garbage and debris entering the ocean environment in this area, from activities both on the water and on land, and; b) work with existing programs and groups in the region to correct the marine debris pollution in the water and on the coastline of this area. The marine debris program has four main priorities outlined in its strategy.

The first is working with existing programs, groups and industries to Identify and Quantify Marine Debris in the program region. Through this we can understand what the most dominant sources of marine debris area to best direct management initiatives. As well, this will help us to understand what monitoring is lacking in the region, and identify the gaps in knowledge regarding marine debris in this region.

Secondly, the program will explore the barriers, opportunities, and best options for Retrieval Collection and Disposal of Waste from marine and land-based activities to prevent further creation of marine debris. For instance, currently many harbours in the region lack the infrastructure for the storage of old fishing gear or waste produced on aquaculture, fishing, and recreational vessels. By investigating how we can provision pathways for waste disposal at harbours we can prevent waste from being improperly disposed of and divert it from the marine environment.

Thirdly, we will explore the Risks of Marine Debris from a social economic and biological perspective on multiple stakeholders and groups impacted by marine debris.

Lastly, the Education component of the strategy will involve the creation of youth marine debris programming at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, outreach and involvement in local communities, and working with groups like commercial, aboriginal, and recreational fisheries, aquaculture, and marine tourism operations to develop best management practices for marine debris prevention.

The program will be housed at the Huntsman Marine Science Centre, but oversight will continue to come from the MDSAC.

Further information on the program can be obtained by contacting

Reba McIver, Marine Debris Program Coordinator
Huntsman Marine Science Centre