The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is crucial to protect sea life

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By JeraldDossantos

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is crucial to protect sea life and achieve United Nations goals

There is increasing pressure on countries to reduce marine litter and fulfill United Nations commitments. We lead the GGGI and play a crucial role in helping countries find practical solutions.

Globally, lost and abandoned fishing gear is known as “ghost gear”. It can damage fragile ecosystems and contribute to declining fish stocks. Once broken down, it can even be a part of our food chain.

It is one the most serious threats to marine life, and it has led to a 10% drop in global fish stocks.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were 17 ambitious global goals set by the United Nations in 2015.

Our oceans are the sole focus of Goal 14. The target 14.1, the first goal under this goal, focuses on marine pollution. It calls for a significant decrease in marine pollution, including ghost gear, by 2025.

In June, New York will host the first UN Oceans Conference. This conference aims to make Goal 14 a tangible, positive step towards preserving the oceans and all life within them. Here’s where we step in.

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GGGI helps drive solutions

My campaign colleagues and me attended a preparatory meeting in February for the UN Ocean Conference. We represented the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

The conference’s seven themes were established at the preparatory meeting. Two of them are marine pollution and sustainable fishing. We talked to countries about the importance of these themes and how GGGI can help to address ghost gear.

The GGGI was established by us in 2002. It is an alliance of academics, non-governmental organisations, and leaders from the fishing industry that aims at reducing the amount of ghost gear found in the oceans.

We are proud of the GGGI, and believe it is key in achieving Goal 14’s goals.


Support preventative measures to stop fishing gear from ending up in the oceans. This includes making ports reception facilities available and ensuring that harmful subsidies are transformed into positive incentives for fishing industry

Encouragement of the GGGI’s best practices framework to help seafood companies make positive changes in their supply chain

Encouragement to remove ghost gear from our oceans

By sharing data with GGGI, you can contribute to a global understanding about the severity and scale of the ghost gear issue.

Support the training of national and regional authorities in the disentanglement marine animals, including iconic species like turtles, whales, and seals.

You can pledge support and make voluntary contributions to the International Whaling Commission that rescues entangled whales.

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Protecting animals at large scales by working together

We hope that over the next months as many countries will join us in our efforts to eliminate oceans of ghost gear, and stop more from getting in. We will present the GGGI at the UN Conference in June as a key partner to help countries meet their SDG 14 commitments.

We had the chance to ensure that the danger posed by ghost gear was not forgotten at the preparatory meeting.

It was a great experience to participate at such an influential level in action planning for our oceans. The UN Ocean Conference offers a great opportunity to mobilize support and ensure that countries take actions that protect animals.

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Sea life support from all over the globe

We also held a discussion on ghost gear at the preparatory meeting with the Permanent Missions of Belgium and Tonga to United Nations.

The event was a huge success. Delegates commented that it had been a great eye-opener, and offered tangible steps to help them implement the GGGI.

Mr Tevita Suka Mangangisi, Tonga’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, stated:

“Tongans are people who live in the ocean and seas. Our heritage is the oceans. Fishing gear that is lost in the oceans can have serious economic, social and environmental impacts. We strongly support the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

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It is imperative that we act immediately

Now is the time to make a difference for our oceans, sea animals and planet. These death traps are being recognized by countries around the world.