B.C. Ferries says it’s going to get to the bottom of the plastic lining that’s entering the waters from their only cable ferry.

The vessel goes between Vancouver Island and Denman Island, and for at least a year the cables have been shedding a plastic coating into the sensitive waters of Baynes Sound.

Michael Rapati, a Denman Island resident, found a few more pieces of the cable plastic on the island’s shores Thursday.

It’s something residents have been seeing for close to four years, since BC Ferries started operating the vessel.

The plastic is supposed to dampen sound as the ferry is guided along its nearly two-kilometre route to and from Denman Island.

“The first time I saw the cables were coated with plastic I was a little alarmed because sooner or later that will wear off into the ocean. now we’re looking at a lot of it wearing off. Even B.C. Ferries is surprised at how much is coming off,” said Rapati.

B.C. Ferries says it became aware of the issue a year ago and is doing everything possible to get to the bottom of the problem.

“It’s not acceptable for it to be shedding plastic into the ocean and we absolutely recognize that, and are doing everything we can to fix it,” said Tessa Humphries of BC Ferries.

The corporation says it believes no more plastic is peeling off the cables, but will use an underwater camera soon to survey if there’s more plastic in Bayne’s Sound.

If there is it will deploy divers to collect it

B.C. ferries says it will ensure there won’t be any more plastic in the water in the future.

“We are engaging with engineering experts to look at multiple different options one of which would be to have cables that don’t have the plastic coating but we’re going to wait and see what the experts suggest because we want to make sure we get it right,” said Humphries.

A group trying to protect the waters around Denman Island have collected this pile of plastic from shorelines since September.

Its coordinator says the plastic from the cables is small compared to the plastic they’re finding from the shellfish industry.

“But it’s adding to a serious plastic problem that we have and what’s really important and everyone needs to realize that Baynes Sound and Lambrick Channel is the most important herring spawning in the pacific northwest ocean,” said Liz Johnston of the Association for Denman Island Marine Stewards.

And they say any extra plastic in the waters could be the tipping point to the end of that fishery too.

Kendall Hanson