In memory of Jo Toole, an extraordinary protector of marine animals

New award in memory of extraordinary ocean advocate Joanna Toole


This World Oceans Day, we are announcing an award to fund work protecting sea animals in honour of our friend and former campaigner, Joanna (Jo) Toole, who died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March

Joanna's work to protect our oceans and the life within them was not a job - it was her life

Joanna was en route to a UN meeting where she would have hosted a panel on how to tackle abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, known as ghost gear.

Ghost gear is, by far, the deadliest form of marine debris. It is four times more likely to impact on marine life, through entanglement, than all other forms of marine debris combined.

Every year more than 100,000 whales, dolphins, seals and turtles get caught in abandoned or lost fishing nets, lines and traps.


The award 

The Joanna Toole Annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award will be given to the most deserving project that submits its strategy to tackle ghost gear.

Applications can be submitted here.

Entries will be reviewed by ghost gear experts from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) and World Animal Protection.   

Ultimately the award will make our oceans a better and safer place – which is what Jo dedicated her professional life to achieving.  

The annual recipient will be awarded at least USD $40,000

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative

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

The GGGI aims to improve the health and productivity of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals, and safeguard human health and livelihoods.   

It currently brings together almost 100 partners including the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

Continuing Joanna’s legacy

Joanna’s father, Adrian Toole, said: “Joanna's work to protect our oceans and the life within them was not a job - it was her life. Since she was a little girl she knew that when she grew up she wanted a job where she could help animals – at World Animal Protection, Ocean Care and at the United Nations she was doing that every day.  

“Our family is so proud that Jo lived her dream and we know the Joanna Toole Annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award will continue her legacy to make a positive difference for our oceans Jo worked so hard to protect.” 

For more information, or to apply for The Joanna Toole Annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award, please visit

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