Ten nations join the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to protect marine animals

June 12 2017

The Netherlands, New Zealand, Belgium, Panama, The Dominican Republic, Samoa, Tonga, Sweden, Tuvalu and Palau join the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to make the ocean safer for sea animals

By signing Statements of Support for the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), these nations are committing to improve the health of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals from harm and safeguard human health and livelihoods.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds are trapped, mutilated and killed by the 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear that is left in our oceans. Known as ghost gear, this silent killer is one of the biggest threats facing sea animals.


Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Belgium speaks at United Nations Headquarters during a UN Ocean Conference Side event on June 5th, 2017.

The amount of ghost gear entering our oceans and threatening animals in on the rise. Which is why World Animal Protection founded the GGGI in 2015 – to find and put in place sustainable solutions to this global problem.

“We must strive to make the private sector, fishing industry, academia and governments work together to reduce the impact lost gear has on the economic sector, food security and most importantly on marine ecosystems. Certification and marking of gear to make it traceable and recycling of retrieved materials are some of the most promising solutions. My country supports the gear recovery initiative and recycling as a principle,” said Mr Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

A global effort to combat ghost gear

The GGGI is an alliance of governments, fishing industry leaders, researchers and NGOs, committed to reducing ghost gear globally and protecting sea animals.


H.E. Thomas Esang Remengesau, President of the Republic of Palau, speaks at United Nations Headquarters during a UN Ocean Conference Side event on June 5th, 2017.

The scale of the problem is so large, it could cost governments millions of dollars in clean-up.

But by bringing different groups together to collaborate, the GGGI will help governments and industry to prevent ghost gear ending up in our oceans in the first place with best practice recommendations for their supply chains.

Leading the world on ghost gear

In 2015, the United Nations established 17 ambitious global targets, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 14 is entirely focussed on our oceans and calls for a significant reduction of marine pollution of all kinds, including ghost gear, by 2025.

“As an island nation, New Zealand takes a strong interest in the way the ocean is managed. The ocean that surrounds New Zealand, and the marine resources and life within it, play a vital role in our economic, social and cultural wellbeing and identity. Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded ghost gear is a significant threat to our marine ecosystems and our unique way of life. We therefore wholeheartedly support the GGGI and are committed to being an effective part of a global approach to address a global problem, at scale,” said New Zealand Conservation Minister Hon. Maggie Barry. 


Members of World Animal Protection's Sea Change team meet with representatives from The Netherlands prior to their commitment to the GGGI

The GGGI is key to helping countries meet their commitments under SDG 14, creating safer, cleaner oceans by tackling ghost gear.

For more information on the GGGI visit ghostgear.org.

By bringing different groups together to collaborate, the GGGI will help governments and industry to prevent ghost gear ending up in our oceans in the first place

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