Tesco, Lidl and Nestlé join fight against fishing gear left in our oceans

22 November 2018

We've moved supermarkets Tesco and Lidl, and the world’s biggest food company Nestlé, to tackle 'ghost gear'. The companies are joining our Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) to fight against this colossal threat to marine life

Ghost gear injures and kills hundreds of thousands of marine animals each year, including whales, dolphins, turtles and seals.

Tesco, Lidl and Nestlé have joined the GGGI, which we launched in 2015. Along with 91 other GGGI members, including governments, businesses, charities and more, they'll help tackle the problem of ghost gear globally and protect sea life.

A turtle trapped in a net underwater Jordi Chias naturepl.com - Sea Change - World Animal Protection

A turtle trapped in a net underwater. Image: Jordi Chias / naturepl.com

Deadly plastic

Ghost gear is the deadliest form of marine debris. It includes plastic fishing nets, lines, pots and other equipment, which can stay in the ocean for up to 600 years. Ghost gear represents 10% of all marine debris and as much as 70% of all floating plastics larger than 5mm.

Protecting marine animals

The GGGI recently announced commitments to protect marine animals from ghost gear. It will:

  • support 30 projects addressing ghost gear in 15 countries by 2025
  • double the financial commitment from its members, supporting organisations and governments, to USD $2 million in 2019
  • receive over £100,000 from the UK government for work in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. The UK government will also provide training on the best practice management of fishing gear in other Commonwealth countries
  • receive €100,000 from the Dutch government which will go towards tackling ghost gear
  • work with partners to implement best practice management of fishing gear by 2021
  • help establish baselines and contribute to achieve a net reduction of ghost gear in our oceans on an annual basis by 2030 

Ghost fishing

The equivalent of 52,000 London double decker buses, or 65 Eiffel Towers, of ghost gear is left in our oceans each year. Fishing gear is designed to capture and kill and when lost it continues to fish - this is known as 'ghost fishing'.

When lost it can cause immense suffering for marine animals that can get caught in this incredibly durable equipment. The animals suffer a prolonged and painful death, usually suffocating or starving to death. Seven out of ten (71%) entanglements involve plastic ghost gear.

Thriving oceans

Ingrid Giskes, our global head of campaign for Sea Change, said: "Ghost gear is recognised as a key issue that we need to tackle if we want to ensure clean and thriving oceans.

"The commitments announced today will help ensure we achieve a reduction of the amount of ghost gear in our oceans – by preventing more from entering and removing what is already there."

"The commitments announced today will help ensure we achieve a reduction of the amount of ghost gear in our oceans."
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