Derelict Gear


Derelict fishing gear is defined as gear that has been lost, abandoned, or otherwise discarded at sea. This lost fishing gear continues to capture both target and non-target species with no one there to harvest them, while also degrading and altering marine habitats. In the Salish Sea, derelict fishing gear consists of thousands of monofilament gillnets lost during a once booming salmon fishery, over 12,000 crab pots lost each year in a robust Dungeness crab fishery, and purse seines, trawl nets, and shrimp pots littering the substrate to a lesser extent. 

Since 2002, we have removed more than 5,800 derelict fishing nets and 6,000 derelict crab pots restoring over 860 acres of marine habitat. The removal of this harmful gear eliminates present and future threats of entanglement to marine birds, fish, mammals and invertebrates, and fully restores the marine habitat it has degraded. We are also working to prevent gear from becoming derelict through our newly lost net Reporting, Response, and Retrieval Program and our Catch More Crab outreach campaign, which has reached over 350,000 individuals annually since 2017. 

acres restored

nets removed

crab pots removed

Reporting Lost Nets

Working closely with Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and Puget Sound Treaty Tribes, we are able to prevent newly lost nets from becoming derelict and causing unintentional harm through our Reporting, Response, and Retrieval Program. This program includes a reporting system and removal teams on standby ready for rapid response and removal of newly lost nets. 

Report lost fishing nets here or by calling (360)-733-1725


Northwest Straits Foundation
1155 N State St Ste 400
Bellingham WA 98225
(360) 733-1725