Development of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative Ghost Gear Web Portal

My name is Kelsey Richardson. I’m an incoming PhD student with the University of Tasmania in Australia, and am working with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to research the sources, amounts, types, fates and impacts of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear.

I’ve spent the last year working with CSIRO and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) to collate data from around the world for the development of a global ghost gear database and web portal.

How does the portal work? The user enters net characteristics, image and location. The portal shows image(s) of nets with similar characteristics, lists fisheries that use nets with similar characteristics, known information about what wildlife are known to have been entangled by similar nets. Then a global navigable map shows areas where gear types - and entanglement incidents - have been reported.

The goal for the GGGI database and web portal is to provide a publicly accessible, interactive resource that increases our knowledge about the sources, amounts, types, fates and impacts of Ghost Gear around the world. Analysis will reveal ghost gear ‘hotspots’, high-risk fisheries and where and when we find different types of gear.

How can you get involved? Database and web portal development relies on people sharing information about Ghost Gear. That’s where you come in! We’re asking you to share your knowledge, data, and connections. It’s a big project, and I’m very excited about it.


What information do we want?

1) Share with us the locations where you find Ghost Gear (and where you’ve looked);

2) Tell us about any animals caught in nets; tell us what kind of gear animals are caught in; and

3) Take measurements and photos of nets, traps and animals caught. We are particularly interested in specific gear characteristics including, measurements of twine construction, mesh size, colour, and the presence/ absence of knots.

All data contributing to the database will remain anonymous, and we can discuss any privacy concerns with groups to ensure that any particularly sensitive data is not shared. We can also post your group’s logo if you’re happy for people to know you’ve contributed information. No raw or disaggregated data will be made available without express consent of all parties. Become involved with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative!

If this article has piqued your curiosity and you’d like to learn more such as how you can become involved and help with this work from within your own country, I’d love to connect! Please feel free to contact me via email at