Sea Change Champion Award 2016 Looking for Best Practice in Tackling Ghost Fishing Gear

14 April 2016, at 1:00am

UK - World Animal Protection UK is looking for examples of fishing best practice in tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear, for entry into its Sea Change Champion Award.

The organisation will showcase the individuals and groups championing sustainable fishing and their activities to reduce the impact of lost or damaged fishing gear on the marine environment.

As part of its Sea Change Campaign World Animal Protection works with the fishing industry to prevent end of life fishing gear from entering UK waters and develop sustainable solutions and the award is a key part of this.

Last year, Nigel Saunders, a Swansea based fishermen, won the award for his innovative, low-tech pot modification project which reduces the impact of lost pots on the marine environment and prevents shellfish and other non-target species from being unnecessarily caught if lost. As part of his work he has championed sustainable solutions to other local fishermen and worked hard to secure funding for other innovation projects.

Nigel said: “My boat, Danny Buoy, is named in memory of my son, Daniel, and fishing is my life. I want there to be a future for fishing and I want to be part of it. I don’t want to spend years annihilating the environment and move onto something else…I want to make our fishing practices as sustainable as possible and I couldn’t do that without the support of my two crew.”

Sea Change UK Campaign Manager, Christina Dixon, said: “Everyday people in the fishing community such as Nigel strive to find new ways to minimise their impact on the ocean. We want to hear more of these great examples especially around responsible gear management, end of life gear recycling, ghost gear removal, gear modification and education projects in these areas.”

An estimated 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear are abandoned, lost or discarded in oceans globally each year. The impact of this ‘ghost gear’ on animals and the marine environment is staggering.

In 2015 World Animal Protection launched the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), the world’s first multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to tackling this problem at scale. Sea Change and GGGI are dedicated to preventing ghost fishing litter from entering UK waters and protecting thousands of British species currently affected.

Nominations for the UK’s Sea Change Champion are now open until 15 May 2016 and should be submitted to Christina Dixon at World Animal Protection UK: Finalists will be announced in June.

When submitting the nomination please include:

Contact details
Area of industry you work in
Short paragraph about how you or the person you’re nominating fits the definition of ‘Sea Change Champion’

For more information about the campaign please visit