Global Ghost Gear Initiative Launches Best Practice Framework for Management of Fishing Gear

With ghost fishing gear a significant issue of concern for 40% of industry respondents to a recent survey, the launch of a new best practice framework in June at the SeaWeb Summit in Seattle is set to shape the way the seafood industry works to tackle one of the world’s major sources of marine litter.

The Best Practice Framework (BPF) for the Management of Fishing Gear, developed by the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), was formally launched at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle this month. The GGGI also hosted a successful side event on the Best Practice Framework for Fishing Gear Management at SeaWeb, drawing an eager audience of policy makers, fishermen, seafood companies and government representatives.

The framework is the first in the world to recommend practical, comprehensive solutions and approaches to combat ghost fishing across the entire seafood supply chain, from gear manufacturers to policy makers to fishers themselves.

Input from more than 40 organisations from across the global seafood industry, NGOs, and fishing communities during an ongoing 10-week consultation process helped to shape the final document. Six webinars were also held with stakeholder groups in different regions, including Europe and North America.

“Advancements to fishing gear design, sourcing decisions, and fishing policies can significantly reduce the impact of ghost gear on marine ecosystems, livelihoods, and wildlife,” said Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager for Oceans and Wildlife at World Animal Protection, the GGGI’s founding participant. “The framework recommends practical, detailed approaches to combat ghost gear, each with an accompanying case study on how changes have been achieved in practice. These include net recycling programs, derelict gear removal initiatives, and fishing management policy adjustments, among others.”

“The Best Practice Framework fills a vital need for the seafood industry,” said Jonathan Curto, Sustainability Coordinator at TriMarine, a GGGI participant. “Reducing ghost gear is important to all of us, and the practical guidance and case studies the BPF provides will help companies to implement positive changes and processes across the seafood supply chain. The GGGI looks forward to working with stakeholders to implement the recommended best practices to sustainably manage fishing gear.” 

Ally Dingwall, Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager at Sainsbury’s, a GGGI participant, added, “Our customers have showed us that they care about the sustainability of their food, which is why we are building the principles of the Best Practice Framework into our sourcing policies. As a founding member and active participant of the GGGI, we are fully supportive of the launch of the BPF and urge other stakeholders from across the industry to make use of this important toolkit.”

A survey during the consultation period showed that 28% of respondents said ghost gear is a significant sustainability issue for their business, while 37% said ghost gear is a moderately or highly significant issue for them. 

The Framework can be found on the GGGI website. Industry feedback is still very much welcome - visit http://www.ghostgear.org/best-practice-consultation to participate in this very important consultation project!

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