Almost $412,500 confirmed to assess, remove and dispose of derelict boats in B.C.

The federal Minister of Transportation has confirmed which groups are next in line to receive funds to clear abandoned boats in B.C. waters.

Speaking at the Port Hope Shipyards in Victoria, Minister Marc Garneau announced over $412-thousand dollars to remove 18 abandoned vessels Under the Abandoned Boats Program.

17 of the vessels identified are located in 3 spots around Salt Spring Island, and one is in Esquimalt.

Salish Sea Industrial Services, an Indigenous-owned and operated marine construction, maintenance and support services company will handle the assessment, removal and disposal of the vessels on Salt Spring.

Under the Oceans Protection Plan -- launched 2 years ago this month -- the Abandoned Boats Program is investing $6.85 million to address what Garneau calls the "irresponsible practice" of allowing aging, unkept vessels to threaten marine ecosystems.

To date the program has provided funding to remove assess 87 boats and remove 38.

In a separate announcement yesterday affecting the BC coast Transport Canada announced a $9.5-million contract for an underwater “hydrophone" listening station at Boundary Pass -- critical habitat for the Southern Resident Killer Whale -- will be awarded soon.

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