7 day volunteer trip: Clear the Coast
Organization: Living Oceans Society
Location: Port Hardy & remote wilderness, BC

Join Living Oceans Society on a wild wilderness trip to remove marine debris at Sea Otter Cove this July.

Through initiatives like Clear the Coast, we work to protect sensitive foreshore, recovering habitat polluted by ocean plastics.

Why do we do what we do?

Marine debris can be as harmful to ocean ecosystems as destructive fishing practices. Tonnes of plastic waste are circulating on ocean currents and breaking down into smaller and smaller particles, often ending up on or inside seabirds, marine mammals and fish. Lost fishing gear can entangle and kill many marine species. Closer to shore, debris accumulates on beaches including near-shore waters like estuaries that have a high conservation value. Derelict and abandoned vessels are a threat to pollute harbours and other coastal areas.

Derelict vessels

We’re finding ways to help northern Vancouver Island communities find ways to responsibly dispose of derelict and abandoned vessels.

Old and derelict vessels are another form of debris and a threat to the marine environment. Their growing presence and disposal is becoming a growing concern for marina operators on B.C.’s coast. These vessels become point sources of pollution, leaking hydrocarbons and other harmful toxins into the ocean. If anchored or abandoned on beaches, they may become hazards to navigation.

Living Oceans has studied how derelict vessels impact marine ecosystems and how lessons learned and best practices from vessel removal efforts in other places can be applied on northern Vancouver Island. This research will provide local harbour managers, marinas and other businesses with a starting point to develop local solutions to the hazards and pollution problems posed by abandoned and derelict vessels.

Ghost fishing gear

Removing a ghost fishing net from Lunch Beach, just outside the western boundary of the Michael Biggs Ecological Reserve in Johnstone Strait. Photo: Megan Baker.

Even after it’s lost, fishing gear continues to fish by trapping or entangling sea life. Local organizations and volunteers want to find and remove lost crab traps from recreational fishing areas in and near estuaries. We are collecting the information reported during these cleanup efforts into the Clear the Coast map that shows how and where the ghost gear interacts with important habitat like kelp beds and eelgrass meadows.

What to Expect

Volunteers may travel by boat, helicopter and on foot in remote wilderness locations. Volunteers will be responsible for travel to Port Hardy for departure on July 15. The trip will be 7 days, plus your travel time. All food will be provided but you’ll need to bring your own camping gear. You’ll work hard, make fast friends and have a great time! Expect beautiful views, evening beach fires and an experience you won’t forget.

How to Apply: Send us a short resume that outlines your experience with wilderness camping, boating, marine debris removal or any other skills that you think might be relevant to our work: blowden@livingoceans.org

About Living Oceans

Living Oceans Society has been a leader in the effort to protect Canada’s oceans since we formed in 1998.

Founded in Sointula, a small fishing village on the Central Coast of British Columbia, our influence has grown to be national. Living on the coast, we are reminded each day that it’s not just about the fish—it’s about the fish and the people. We advocate for oceans that are managed for the common good, according to science-based policies that consider ecosystems in their entirety.

Our contributions are helping to reduce harmful human impacts on the ocean.

To support this vision, Living Oceans Society:

  • Engages in scientific, social and economic research to ensure our campaigns are grounded in fact and our solutions are science-based
  • Interprets scientific data for diverse audiences through maps, reports and other publications, so that all stakeholders can be informed and involved in decision-making
  • Engages with government, industry and the people who live and work on the coast to create viable solutions to conservation issues
  • Promotes sound public policy and corporate social responsibility
  • Enables coastal communities to protect the ocean resources they depend upon.