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Food heavyweights join ghost gear initiative

Fisheries NGO

The UK’s biggest supermarket chain and the world’s biggest food company have announced they have joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI).

The announcement, made by Tesco and Nestlé today at the Our Ocean Conference, will help to strengthen the initiative’s attempts to address the 640,000 tonnes of fishing equipment, also called ‘ghost gear’, that end up in the oceans every year. An estimated 5 to 30 percent of the decline in some fish stocks can be attributed to ghost gear.

Ghost gear kills up to 30 per cent of some fish stocks

© Elain Blum / Marine Photobank

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, founded in 2015, is the only global alliance dedicated to tackling the problem of discarded gear at a global scale.

Today the GGGI is also announcing a raft of commitments to protect marine animals from ghost gear:

  • The GGGI will support 30 projects addressing ghost gear in 15 countries by 2025 where the need is the greatest.
  • The GGGI is pledging to double the financial commitment from its members, supporting organisations and governments, to USD $2 million in 2019 to ensure the effective scaling of projects aimed at addressing and preventing the problem of ghost gear, especially in developing countries. The UK Government is committing over £100k for work in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and providing training on the best practise management of fishing gear in other Commonwealth countries.
  • The GGGI will also work with three market leading certifications schemes, all 13 GGGI signatory countries and UN FAO to implement best practice management of fishing gear by 2021 including the uptake of the recently adopted UN FAO Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear. Overall, the GGGI pledges to help establish baselines and contribute to achieve a net reduction of ghost gear in our oceans on an annual basis by 2030.

Ingrid Giskes, Global Head of Sea Change at World Animal Protection, said: “Ghost gear is recognised as a key issue that we need to tackle if we want to ensure sustainable fish stock levels and clean and thriving oceans. I am delighted that large corporate partners and governments alike are committing resources to ensure that we can use our collective impact to make a real dent in the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The commitments announced today will help ensure that we will achieve a net reduction of the amount of ghost gear in our oceans – by preventing more from entering and removing what is already there.”