Germany joins initiative to clean up ghost gear in oceans

Iranpolymer/Baspar  Many people visualise marine litter as unsightly plastic debris in the form of bottles, caps, plastic bags and other waste drifting in huge gyres in the oceans. Just as dangerous and far less visible is what’s known as ‘ghost gear’: discarded, lost or abandoned fishing gear that form floating death traps to marine wildlife.

Germany is the latest country to join Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), the world’s largest cross sectoral alliance to solve the ghost gear problem. The announcement was made during the third round of negotiations of the Plastics Treaty, which otherwise had ‘disappointing’ results, by Dr. Axel Borchmann, Germany’s Deputy Head of Division for the Ministry of the Environment. Europe’s largest economy has committed €100,000 annually to the GGGI.

“As the deadliest form of marine debris and mostly made from plastics, addressing ghost gear is critical to solving the ocean plastics pollution crisis,” said said Ingrid Giskes, director of the GGGI at Ocean Conservancy. “We are thrilled that Germany has joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative during INC-3 and hope that other countries taking part in the plastics treaty negotiations will join us in addressing this pervasive threat to our ocean.”

Fishing gear is a major source of ocean plastics pollution and represents up to 86% by weight of all floating macroplastics in large systems of circulating ocean currents by weight, according to the GGGI. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that an up to 30% decline in some fish stocks can be attributed to ghost gear.

The GGGI counts with 20 other members, including the US, Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and the UK, amongst others.


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