Up to 1 million tonnes of ghost nets end up in our oceans annually. Together with our partners Ghost Diving and Healthy Seas, we recover as many as we can – but to help free our oceans from this problem in the long term, we need preventive solutions. We are already working together with fisheries and accepting their discarded nets so that they do not end up lost in the ocean. Additionally, we are in constant dialogue with authorities, NGOs, and academia, in order to develop more solutions. Now we have taken this quest one step further: we have recently started working together with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), an initiative that approaches the issue of ghost nets holistically. We are greatly anticipating working together and are therefore keen to introduce you to GGGI and their efforts.
What is the Global Ghost Gear Initiative?
The GGGI was founded in 2015 to combat the issue of “Abandoned, Lost, and Discarded Fishing Gear”, mostly ghost nets, by collaborating beyond any usual boundaries. Through joining forces, fisheries and other businesses, researchers, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs seek to learn from each other and improve the health of marine ecosystems together.
What exactly does the Global Ghost Gear Initiative do?
The GGGI pursues three main interrelated objectives: improving the health of marine ecosystems, protecting marine animals from harm, and safeguarding human health and livelihoods. To achieve their goals, the GGGI has separated into three working groups. Members from all around the world are represented here, enabling problems to be looked at from many different angles and to develop a wide range of ideas. The working groups deal with the following topics:
Creating evidence about ghost nets
Collecting data about ghost gear around the world, this working group examines their causes, occurrences, and effects. This can help to identify regions that should be prioritised by the GGGI as they are particularly affected by the problem.
Defining best practice and informing policy
Preventive measures are hugely important, as they help ensure that ghost gear does not land in the sea in the first place. This group works on educating fisheries, reforming outdated policies with regional/global governments and developing worldwide guidelines for the fishing industry.
Catalysing and replicating solutions
This group assesses which solutions work in the fight against ghost nets, and disseminates these worldwide. In particular, it focuses on scalable solutions that can provide further data and inform best practice for the other working groups.
Who else is involved in the Global Ghost Gear Initiative?
With 149 members, the GGGI brings a variety of perspectives to the table. Private organisations such as fisheries and supermarket chains, sustainable enterprises like ourselves, academic institutions, NGOs such as our partners Healthy Seas and Ghost Diving, as well as 20 governments – all contribute to freeing our oceans from ghost nets. Of course, everyone has a different role to play. For instance, data from scientific NGOs can help formulate recommendations for guidelines that are then prescribed by governments and implemented by fisheries.
Why did we join the Global Ghost Gear Initiative?
Bracenet was born from the mission to save our oceans. By recovering ghost nets and processing them into new products, we make an important contribution to this goal. But we can only achieve far-reaching changes and effectively implement preventive measures if everyone is pulling in the same direction. This is why we have now joined the GGGI – in order to participate in a global network and fight the issue of ghost nets with partners from all over the world. The GGGI brings together business, science, NGOs and politics – and thus offers a unique forum for saving the oceans through global cooperation.
What is the Global Ghost Gear Initiative currently working on?
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is working on multiple projects worldwide, on both a local and global scale. For example, guideline documents have been created to provide counsel for organisations wishing to engage with ghost gear. Additionally, new technology is currently being tested that will allow the tracking of fishing nets. Tracking would enable fisheries to retrieve lost nets and authorities to identify the origin of ghost nets. This would make it possible to impose penalties for the illegal disposal of nets. As legal disposal measures are currently almost as high as fines for illegal disposal, the GGGI is working to formulate recommendations on how to make the disposal of fishing gear more attractive and more accessible. As we actively work with fisheries we already have experience in this area and are happy to share our knowledge with the GGGI.
Further information about the Global Ghost Gear Initiative
In summary, we have only one thing left to say: we are looking forward to working with the GGGI and all its members and are proud to contribute to the protection of the oceans in this global network. If you would like to find out more about the GGGI and their work, you will find information on all current and completed projects on their website. In our blog, you will also find 5 things you should know about Ghost Nets.