Ghost gear danger to marine animals highlighted at UK government event

11 April 2018

World Animal Protection campaigners were invited by the UK government to attend their event to show the ongoing work being done to protect our oceans in the lead up to the UK taking over as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth for the next two years.

The event, held at the Natural History Museum, allowed our team to highlight the danger that lost and discarded fishing gear, known as ghost gear, presents to millions of marine animals every year.

Our campaigners met government ministers, scientists, businesses and commonwealth dignitaries and illustrated the impact of ghost gear to both marine life and people’s livelihoods, together with the work that World Animal Protection is doing to reduce this threat.

In 2015, we established the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) which is an alliance of organisations from the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments and charities. Every participant has a critical role to play to stop ghost gear locally, regionally and globally.

71% of marine animal entanglements involve ghost gear and it is estimated to cause 5-30% decline in some fish stocks. In addition, 640,000 tonnes of this plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year and can last up to 600 years.

Chiara Vitali, our Sea Change campaigns manager, said, “The UK joined the GGGI last year and recognises that the project is the world leader in the fight against ghost gear. We are confident that the conversations we had at the event will encourage other industry and government representatives to join our effort to eliminate ghost gear and create safer, cleaner oceans.

In 2015, the United Nations established its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 14th of which is entirely focussed on our oceans and calls for a significant reduction of marine pollution of all kinds, including ghost gear, by 2025.

We developed the GGGI in response to the growing pressure to reduce marine litter and meet United Nations commitments. Find out more about the GGGI at www.ghostgear.org.

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