Global Ghost Gear Initiative gains traction among United Nations member states

17 June 2016

640,000 tons of lost fishing gear enters oceans each year causing entanglement, suffering, and death for hundreds of thousands of animals.

On World Ocean’s Day 2016, United Nations Member State representatives joined World Animal Protection team members at United Nations headquarters in New York to discuss protecting oceans and marine animals from the growing threat of lost, abandoned or derelict fishing gear – or ‘ghost gear’.

The event was called Taking action on ghost fishing gear. Representatives from Sweden, Tonga, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Palau, Thailand, and Vanuatu attended and all co-sponsored the event. They spoke about the growing issue of ghost gear and marine debris and its threat to marine life, ecosystems, and people.

Speakers in attendance commented on the Global Ghost Gear Initiative’s (GGGI) ability to raise awareness and drive solutions to the serious problems caused by lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

The GGGI was launched in 2015 by World Animal Protection and forms an alliance of national organizations, international institutions, the fishing industry, private sector and civil society organizations, and government agencies. Its aim is to ensure safer, cleaner oceans by driving economically viable and sustainable solutions to the problem of ghost fishing gear globally.

The keynote address was presented by H.E. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation and Climate, Ms. Isabella Lövin, of Sweden. “Multi-stakeholder platforms are needed to deal with [the issue of ghost fishing gear] at a global level and a wide range of stakeholders are needed to tackle this problem. The GGGI is undoubtedly an initiative worth supporting,” Lövin said.

Ms. Lövin affirmed the need for express action to solve the issues at hand: “Time is running out but there is still reason for hope. It is still possible to save our oceans.”

Ms. Elizabeth Hogan, our Sea Change Campaign Manager, discussed the scale of animal suffering and death caused abandoned fishing gear and the progress made by the GGGI. “Conservative estimates report that 136,000 marine animals, including whales, dolphins and seals die from ghost gear related injuries each year,” she said.

Find out more information on our Sea Change campaign and our work to save one million marine animals by 2018.

"Multi-stakeholder platforms are needed to deal with [the issue of ghost fishing gear] at a global level and a wide range of stakeholders are needed to tackle this problem. The GGGI is undoubtedly an initiative worth supporting," Lövin said.

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