Pile of ghost gear on Perranporth beach, UK

New Zealand joins the GGGI to protect animals from deadly ghost gear


New Zealand joined a small but growing group of governments giving sea animals a voice at the first ever UN Ocean Conference

As a result of the conference, held in New York from 5-9 June, New Zealand pledged to support the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). By doing so, it committed to reduce the discarded fishing gear left in our oceans and protect vulnerable animals throughout the world’s oceans.

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. It is one of the biggest threats facing sea animals.

This ghost gear can continue fishing – entangling and killing animals – for up to 600 years. The amount entering our oceans and threatening animals has increased in recent years and is likely to grow further, unless governments and industry take action. 

Leading the world on ghost gear

New Zealand is leading the world on this front. It became one of the first countries in the world to take action on this problem and sign on to the GGGI, joining Belgium, Samoa, Tonga, Sweden, and Tuvalu.

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.

“The GGGI is key to realising Sustainable Development Goal 14’s targets,” says Ingrid Giskes, World Animal Protection’s Head of Sea Change. “This week at the UN Ocean Conference, we are presenting the GGGI as a key partner in helping countries meet their commitments under SDG 14. In addition to the other countries that have signed on, we’re thrilled New Zealand has pledged its support to tackle ghost gear and create safer, cleaner oceans”.

A joint effort to save sea animals

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

World Animal Protection founded the GGGI in 2015 to find and put in place solutions to the ghost gear problem and save sea animals from needless suffering and death.

The scale of the problem is so large, it could cost governments millions of dollars in clean-up expenses. But by bringing different groups together to collaborate, the GGGI will take some of the pressure off individual governments and help fishers to prevent ghost gear ending up in our oceans in the first place with best practice recommendations for their supply chains.

We will continue working to garner support from other countries for the GGGI and make our oceans a safer place for the animals who call them home.

Main image credit: Greg Martin

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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