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maine coastal pickup

September 25, 2023

Fishing Gear Pile-Up on Maine's Coast Contributes to Plastic Onslaught of Oceans

Ask students: Who are some of the individuals and groups featured in this story? What are the causes of the "ghost gear" onslaught?


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Abandoned fishing gear, often called "ghost gear," is breaking down in our oceans and adding to the problems brought by plastics and microplastics. But there was a recent effort to get the United Nations to enforce tougher regulations, and a coalition announced new funding to remove some debris in the Gulf of Maine. Science correspondent Miles O'Brien reports.

For a transcript of this story, click here.

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Discussion Questions

  • Who are some of the individuals and groups featured in this story?
  • What are the causes of the "ghost gear" onslaught?
  • Why is abandoned fishing gear a problem for marine life? What about how the traps themselves are made?
  • Where is the Gulf of Maine? (see map here or zoom out from this map)
  • How are environmental groups addressing the problem?

Focus Questions

How seriously do you think government and industry leaders should be taking the ghost gear problem? What about the larger plastic problem affecting the earth? How seriously do you take it, and what do you think should be done about it?

Media Literacy: Learn about the water systems near you! Research newspapers and online news outlets in your city and state (start here if you're not sure) to learn more about the plastic pollution problem and potential solutions. Type in general words first such as "pollution," and then more specific search terms such as "plastic," "fishing" and "wildlife"). What did you find? Were you surprised?

Lesson Plans on Climate Change

Explore more resources for educators to find a wide-range of relevant preK-12 lessons on climate change or supporting young people as they continue to lead the conversation around the climate change crisis.

Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Classroom.

PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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