What’s the problem?
Our oceans are an unsafe place to live. Every year, millons of animals, including whales, seals, turtles and birds are mutilated and killed by ‘ghost’ fishing gear – nets, lines and traps that are abandoned, lost or discarded in our oceans.
According to UN agencies, some 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear are left in our oceans each year. This ghost gear is now found in every ocean and sea on the planet. It has a devastating effect on marine animals, injuring and killing millions of seals, whales, turtle and seabirds. Entangled animals may either drown within minutes, or endure long, slow deaths lasting months or even years suffering from debilitating wounds infection and starvation.
Ghost fishing gear doesn’t just cost lives – it costs governments and marine industries millions of dollars in clean-up expenses and lost revenue each year. It also threatens human health, particularly divers and those trying to navigate the oceans in both small and large vessels. Made mostly of plastic, this silent menace will persist in our oceans for centuries.
Sea Change in the ocean: campaign to save a million lives
World Animal Protection (formerly WSPA – World Society for the Protection of Animals) is launching a new, global campaign to save the lives of 1 million animals from entanglement in ghost fishing gear, by 2018.
We will do this by moving people to reduce the volume of ghost gear added to our seas, remove gear that is already there, and rescue animals already entangled.
Creating a cross-sectoral solution
To find a lasting solution to this problem, World Animal Protection is launching the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI): an alliance of governments, industry, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations, with a shared commitment to understand and tackle the problem of ghost fishing gear. The initiative will:
- Share data, intelligence and resources to understand ghost gear abundance, causes, impacts and trends.
- Signify and promote a shared commitment to support the expansion and replication of existing effective solutions to reduce ghost gear.
- Share learnings and resources from effective solution case studies, in both policy and practice, to enable replication and expansion.
- Be a platform to drive and develop new ways to tackle the ghost gear issue.
- Enable solutions to be focussed in areas where ghost gear is a particular problem, and create funding opportunities for projects in these areas.
- Enable global monitoring and showcase the impact of projects that can catalyse further change.
The power of a unified approach
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is about worldwide action and worldwide collaboration. By uniting global efforts to tackle ghost fishing gear, and underlining our shared responsibility to redouble these efforts, we will ensure that ghost gear does not pose an ever-growing threat to our oceans or the animals that live in them.
To work with us to build the Global Ghost Gear Initiative contact the team at: GGGI@worldanimalprotection.org
- Title: Sea change – Global ghost gear initiative
- Date: 20 Aug 2019