Tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear at Seafood Sea Summit
Today, February 9th, we’re bringing together seafood industry stakeholders for a Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) meeting to discuss the issue of lost and abandoned fishing gear that entangles our marine life.
The event is part of the SeaWeb Sea Summit in New Orleans (February 9-11), which is a gathering of global seafood industry representatives together with leaders from the conservation community.
The GGGI, spearheaded by world Animal Protection, is an alliance of businesses, fishing associations, UN agencies, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies committed to collaborating to solve the problem of ghost gear. Participants at the meeting will discuss working together to create safer, cleaner oceans by reducing the impact of lost or discarded fishing gear – known as ghost gear – in oceans worldwide.
An estimated 640,000 tons of fishing gear are lost in our oceans each year. For every 125 tons of fish caught, about a ton of ghost gear is left behind. This debris continues to catch animals entangling and killing hundreds of species including seals, turtles and whales. Mostly made of plastic, ghost gear can persist in our oceans for hundreds of years.
Ghost gear is a major concern in the United States and Canada due to their expansive coastal regions and vibrant fishing industries. Through its Sea Change campaign, World Animal Protection aims to save 1 million marine animals from being injured and killed by ghost gear.
Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Oceans and Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, said, “We are very excited for this first meeting about the Global Ghost Gear Initiative in the United States. The impact of ghost gear is keenly felt in Gulf Coast fishing communities, and we look forward to gaining valuable input from local seafood companies, seafood retailers, fishing organizations, and sustainability programs as we work together to bring about a future of ghost-gear-free seas.”
The GGGI will formally launch later this year and is currently welcoming further input from fishing associations, NGOs, businesses and other relevant stakeholders. The GGGI is part of World Animal Protection’s Sea Change campaign and held its inaugural meeting in Slovenia in November 2014.
Join the conversation
Using the following hashtags, #SWSS15 and #GhostGear, join us on Twitter for live updates from the meeting.