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Fighting Ghost Gear in 2018 - the results


The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) that we set up in 2015 to tackle the issue of lost fishing equipment globally is putting marine pollution from the fishing industry on the global agenda

Image credit: Rachel Ceretto

In 2018, the groundswell of interest in our ocean’s health, and plastic pollution, showed that people and decision-makers, now more than ever, understand the severity of the problems our oceans face and the urgent action required to turn the tide. The issue of Ghost Gear (lost or abandoned fishing nets and lines) made headlines as the most harmful form of marine debris and put the GGGI at the heart of the solution.  

New research released this year has also amplified this urgency, confirming that the Ghost Gear problem is far-reaching with estimates that 46-70% of surface debris in some areas in the ocean is fishing gear.   


Over the last year, the GGGI has seen an enormous influx of members wanting to become part of our alliance, showing more desire than ever from governments and corporates to combat and prevent marine pollution from the fishing industry. At global level, large corporations are working through specific action plans to tackle ghost gear in supply chains; while countries such as the Netherlands and Indonesia are collaborating on implementing gear marking guidelines.

These guidelines were adopted in July 2018 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation Committee of Fisheries (UN FAO COFI) Meeting after an expert and a technical consultation in which the GGGI had an important voice. Furthermore,  we saw the European Union adopt stronger policies on single-use plastics and fishing gear with ambitious targets of wanting to see up to 50% of fishing nets to be collected and 15% to be recycled by 2025. 

GGGI’s focus has always been on evidencing the issue, on promoting best practice management of gear, and on scaling up and replicating successful projects. 


The narrative has really changed from having to raise awareness about the problem to highlighting how people can be part of the solution. 2018 was the last year that World Animal Protection was at the helm of the GGGI. In 2019, we welcome Ocean Conservancy (OC) as the new lead partner of the GGGI steering us into the future! 

We have achieved a lot over the last year, but more is needed to ensure cleaner, healthier and safer oceans for all. With your help we will continue to protect animals from the dangers of Ghost Gear and reduce the amount of fishing litter entering our oceans.

Thank you so much for all your support – together we can make a difference!  


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