Preventing Marine Debris, One Lobster Pot at a Time

What does your lobster roll have to do with saving whales?

dsc_0558Well, if the stats are any indication, quite a bit! Due to the irresponsible fishing practices of a few, marine debris created by abandoned or improperly constructed fishing gear poses a real danger to marine life, as well as other fishermen and boaters.

We’re excited to do our bit to raise awareness about this important issue, which fortunately can be solved through education. Working with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, and Woods Hole Sea Grant (on a grant provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation), we’re producing a 7-part series of short videos designed to teach recreational lobstermen how to fish. These may be required viewing for all new applicants for a recreational lobster permit in Massachusetts!dsc_0427

Don’t worry — as much as we love a captive audience, we don’t plan on taking advantage. These video will be short, fun, and informative, not only about how to prevent marine debris, but also showing what gear to buy, how to rig a trap, and what kinds of lobsters are keepers.

With Dave Casoni (a commercial lobsterman and retired teacher) and our Sea Grant collaborator Jeff posing as a novice recreational fisherman, this upbeat series shows ways to fish responsibly and how recreational fishermen can be part of the solution.

Our three-day shoot wrapped at the end of August. We couldn’t have done it without tremendous assistance from DMF, which supplied dsc_0563the gear, rec boat, and driver, an awesome location for painting and rigging the gear, and even closed down part of their office in New Bedford for the shoot. Donny Spring from Sandwich Ship Supply was very generous with letting us use his shop, and even made a cameo appearance.

Lt. Matt Bass of the MA Environmental Police was a real life-saver, providing assistance to get all the on-the-water coverage we needed — and he also agreed to star, as himself, for an abandoned gear retrieval and boat inspection! But our stars Jeff and Dave get the prize for putting up with our strange requests, and for making awesome suggestions in the nick of time.

We were thrilled to work with our talented collagues Matt Rissell —who lent his expertise to the boat shots — and Jay Sheehan of Garrett Audio, who made the production sound as good as it looks.

Watch the series here, published in January 2017!