Montserrat Joins GGGI

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We are extremely excited to announce that Montserrat has signed on to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), making it the fourteenth government to do so and the first of the CARICOM countries to pledge official support for the GGGI. An official signing ceremony was held at the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) Meeting in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis in March, 2019. Mr. Alwyn Ponteen, Chief Fisheries and Ocean Governance Officer of Montserrat and exiting Chair of CRFM, sat down with Joel Baziuk, Global Ghost Gear Initiative Secretariat, to advance the GGGI Statement of Support at the Bird Rock Beach Hotel in Basseterre.

The Government of Montserrat through its Fisheries and Ocean Governance Unit is delighted to embrace the Global Ghost Gear Initiative” said Ponteen. The GGGI lends synergy with the Government of Montserrat’s effort to advance its paradigm shift in improving the governance and management of its fisheries and ocean resources.  This initiative supports the 2016 – 2021 Agriculture Strategy and Marketing Plan within which the Strategic Goals and Objectives of the Fisheries and Ocean Governance Unit are enshrined.  Through the above-mentioned MoU, the Government of Montserrat commits its support to this important initiative.”

New research from 2017 and 2018 indicates that as much as 46% - 70% of floating macro plastic in the oceans when measured by weight may be lost or abandoned fishing gear. Like all plastics, it will eventually break down into microplastics where it could enter the food chain and impact directly on humans in addition to marine species. This gear is incredibly harmful to marine life and ocean ecosystems, and also has significant negative impacts on human health and livelihoods.

 With an estimated 5-30% decline in some fish stocks as a result of lost and abandoned fishing gear, and with over 3 billion people relying on fish for 20% of their protein (with this number rising to 50% in some developing coastal nations), ghost gear is a real and present threat to food security, particularly as world population continues to increase. This is true not only with respect to large scale commercial fisheries, which supply protein from seafood to global markets, but also with respect to small artisanal communities in developing countries, where some locals depend almost entirely on the sea for their survival.

 “We are very excited to have Montserrat pledge its official support for the GGGI and demonstrate a commitment to addressing ghost gear in the region. We look forward to working with Montserrat on this critical ocean issue, and hope that other Caribbean countries will follow Montserrat’s leadership and work with GGGI to address this most harmful form of marine debris both in the Caribbean context, and globally,” said Baziuk.

 The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the world’s premier global alliance dedicated to solving the problem of ALDFG (or “ghost gear”) worldwide. It is a collaborative platform dedicated to bringing all stakeholder groups into the discussion and driving solutions to this critical ocean issue. Since being launched by World Animal Protection in 2015, GGGI has grown to 97 participant organizations spanning 6 continents and has the official support of 14 governments, including Canada, Dominican Republic, Independent State of Samoa, Kingdom of Belgium, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Kingdom of Sweden, Kingdom of Tonga, Montserrat, New Zealand, Republic of Palau, Republic of Panama, Republic of Vanuatu, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Joel Baziuk