5th GGGI Annual Meeting kicks off in Bali ahead of Our Ocean 2018

Today, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) begins its 5th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bali, Indonesia. Launched in September 2015 by World Animal Protection, the GGGI is the world’s largest alliance dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear on a global scale. It is platform uniting the global community to improve the health and productivity of marine ecosystems, to protect marine animals, and to safeguard human health and livelihoods.

Celebrating success towards ghost gear free seas

Excitingly, we are celebrating four years since the founding of the GGGI and are looking back on our achievements since 2014. Over the last few years, the GGGI has successfully grown to over 90 member organizations. Its membership includes representatives from the fisheries sector, industry, retail corporations, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The GGGI is also supported by inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the US State Department’s National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and 13 national governments. Most recently the Government of Canada, world’s largest food company, Nestlé, and Europe’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, joined the Initiative.

The GGGI acts as a global hub for information on ghost gear, informs relevant policy debates in both the public and private sector, and catalyses practical and replicable solutions for on-the-ground and in-the-water removal and prevention of ghost gear.

Leaders from industry, government and NGOs are spending the next two days:

  • Showcasing and celebrating achievements within the GGGI and its participants over the past year and identify learnings which can be replicated and initiated in.

  • Establishing work priorities for 2019 and discussing long-term strategic opportunities and vision for the GGGI over the next five years.

  • Cementing and forging working partnerships and collective impact to multiply the influence of the GGGI's work.

Joel Baziuk, Secretariat for the GGGI: “It’s wonderful to have so many GGGI participants from around the world gathered together in this beautiful place to celebrate the amazing achievements of the GGGI over the last year, and to help chart the course for the collective in 2019 in beyond. We’ve come a very long way since the GGGI launched in 2015 and the future is very bright – it’s a very exciting time to be working on this massive global problem and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

2018 has been a busy year for the GGGI and its participants, with some innovative and exciting projects happening around the world. Some highlights include:

  • Gear marking trial in Indonesia: Trialling different gear marking methods in two small-scale gillnet fisheries to inform the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Global Gear Marking Guidelines that were adopted in July.

  • Gear recovery in Maine, USA: Removal and recycling of 5000 pounds of ghost gear at sea with local fishers.

  • Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) trial in the South Pacific: Tracking and marking of drifting FADs and the testing of tracking technology for anchored FADs to inform the Gear Marking Guidelines and FAD management decisions including FAD retrieval.

A new chapter for the GGGI

Over the last four years, World Animal Protection, as founder of the GGGI, has led and grown the Initiative to the global lead platform to address and coordinate action on ghost gear, that it is today. In a new chapter for the alliance, from January 2019, US-based marine protection organisation Ocean Conservancy will takeover from World Animal Protection as lead partner and will embark on the endeavor to lead the fight against ghost gear in our ocean as lead partner of the GGGI. Ocean Conservancy has been involved in the Initiative from the beginning and is currently leading a large portfolio of work on solutions to prevent land-based litter entering the ocean as part of its Trash Free Seas Programme. Bringing the GGGI under Ocean Conservancy’s umbrella allows Ocean Conservancy to round out its portfolio of initiatives combatting the largest sources of marine litter.

Nick Mallos, Director of the Trash Free Seas Programme for Ocean Conservancy: “Ocean Conservancy is privileged and prepared to steer the GGGI through its next years of leading the fight against ghost gear, growing the initiative and continuing to scale up its impact and influence worldwide.”

Ingrid Giskes, Chair of the GGGI and Head of Campaign - Sea Change for World Animal Protection: “We are excited to announce this new partnership with Ocean Conservancy. Ocean Conservancy and World Animal Protection both understand that success comes from the collective strength and impact of our respective member organisations, and that integration could leverage this even more. We look forward to build on strong foundations of the GGGI and continue to draw on the enthusiasm and expertise of our partners to we can use our collective impact to make a real dent in the targets for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and tackle ghost gear at scale.”

World Animal Protection is committed to continue providing this support through to the end of 2020 and will remain involved for years to come. We look forward to this next chapter of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and see our impact go from strength to strength under this new stewardship.

Follow conversations from the AGM on Twitter by searching the hashtag #GGGIAGM.

Joel Baziuk