Seal tangled in ghost gear - World Animal Protection - Animals in the wild

Award for fund to protect sea animals in memory of Joanna Toole opens for second year


This World Oceans Day (June 8) entries are open for the second annual Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award, which is presented to the project that shows excellence in tackling the problem of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear – also known as ghost gear

Jo is our guide and inspiration in this work and the trustees thank both World Animal Protection and the GGGI for their involvement.

The winning project will receive up to $40,000 USD to help develop and expand their work. Applications will be chosen by experts from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), World Animal Protection and the Joanna Toole Foundation.

Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award 2019 winners

Previous winners include the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), which was awarded for its work helping small-scale tuna fishers in the Maldives remove ghost gear from the ocean.

Stand Out For Environment Restoration (SOFER) Initiative in Nigeria also won last year for its work engaging local fishing communities on best practice for reducing ghost gear through management, prevention and removal.

Cleaning ghost gear on a Cornish beach, UK

A huge threat to sea animals

Ghost gear is the most harmful form of marine debris and one of the biggest threats to marine life.

An estimated 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear is left in our oceans each year – more than one tonne every minute.

Joanna’s legacy

The Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award was set-up in 2019 to honour Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) co-founder, United Nations worker, and former World Animal Protection campaigner, Joanna Toole, whose life was tragically taken in the Ethiopian airlines crash in March 2019.

In 2014, our Sea Change team, co-led by Joanna Toole, established the GGGI, a multi-stakeholder, public-private partnership committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

Joanna Toole holding ghost gear on a beach

Kate Nustedt, our global wildlife director, said, "Joanna Toole was driven by her love of animals, and we’re committed to help continue her work to clear our oceans of deadly ghost gear. We’re excited to support more organisations that will help save the lives of marine animals, and that would make Jo proud."

Ingrid Giskes, director at Global Ghost Gear Initiative, said, "This Award recognises Joanna’s immense contribution to improving our ocean’s health by putting ghost gear on the international agenda as the most harmful form of marine debris. We at GGGI are proud to continue Joanna’s legacy every day with passion and commitment. We are excited to support the Award again this year and going forward; and to review through our experts the many inspirational applications that we receive."

Adrian Toole, Joanna’s father, judge and trustee of the Joanna Toole Foundation, said, "Following the death of my daughter Jo, friends and family decided to set up a charitable foundation to continue her work on animal welfare, this however has taken a year to achieve and we were very pleased when quickly World Animal Protection and GGGI announced the annual Joanna Toole Ghost Gear Solutions Award to be funded for three years by World Animal Protection. I was pleased to be on the panel of judges for the first round and we were able to announce two winners at the end of January this year.

"Jo is our guide and inspiration in this work and the trustees thank both World Animal Protection and the GGGI for their involvement."

The Joanna Toole Annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award is made possible by support from World Animal Protection, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, Ocean Conservancy and the Joanna Toole Foundation.

More About