Back to Our Work

Derelict Fishing Gear


The vast majority of nets lost in Puget Sound are gillnets. Gillnets are made of a plastic monofilament and used to catch salmon. Gillnets can become snagged on rocky outcroppings and hung up on rocky ledges. The plastic material does not significantly degrade over time and marine life that becomes caught in the nets further attracts predators to the net and they become caught as well.

Our experience has shown that nets continue to catch marine life indiscriminately and can significantly smother and/or damage marine habitats.

Derelict gear impacts extend beyond marine species to include habitat, human safety, the economic viability of Puget Sound’s fisheries, and the health of the Puget Sound ecosystem.

What we are doing

The Northwest Straits Initiative’s Derelict Fishing Gear Program goal is to reduce harm from derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound to insignificant levels.

The Northwest Straits Initiative has removed thousands of nets from Puget Sound waters, most of them gillnets. We use highly skilled commercial divers for this dangerous work and follow safety protocols that we designed in partnership with Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of Natural Resources.


Additional Resources

Derelict Fishing Gear Web Site

Report Derelict Gear Online