TORONTO, March 21, 2019 /CNW/ - Ghost gear. It traps, mutilates and kills millions of marine animals each year including, whales dolphins and turtles. It's in every sea, ocean and waterway where people fish commercially and recreationally. This "ghost gear" is also known as lost, abandoned or discarded fishing gear and animals often die a slow and painful death when they are caught in it.
A new report just released by World Animal Protection has found that, although some of the world's 25 leading seafood companies are making progress in tackling the ghost gear problem, there is still much room for improvement.
The first ever assessment of how companies are addressing lost and abandoned fishing gear was published in March 2018. The 2019 report, Ghosts Beneath the Waves, 2nd Edition, ranks 25 seafood companies in tiers 1 (setting best practice) to 5 (not engaged) on their ability to address the problem of ghost gear which can persist in the ocean up to 600 years.
As in 2018, no companies achieved Tier 1 status. However, three of the world's leading seafood companies have entered Tier 2 for the first time and have now made ghost gear best practice integral to their business strategy. They are Thai Union, TriMarine and Bolton Group.
Seven companies have improved, moving up one or more tiers. Three companies from Canada were also assessed. They were High Liner, Clearwater Seafoods and Cooke Aquaculture. With the exception of High Liner, which moved up one tier from five to four, the other two companies remained at the bottom of the ranking, in Tier 5.
Despite good progress over the last year, the report shows there is much more work to be done to tackle the ghost gear menace. Only nine of the 25 companies even acknowledge it as an issue.
Ghost gear is four times more likely to trap and kill marine animals than all other forms of marine debris combined. In addition, it contributes to the ocean's plastic problem with more than 70% of macro-plastics by weight being fishing related.
In 2015, World Animal Protection launched the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, (GGGI). It is dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear on a global scale. The GGGI's strength lies in the diversity of its participants including seafood companies and other fishing industry stakeholders, NGOs and governments. Every participant has a critical role to play to mitigate ghost gear locally, regionally and globally.
"The GGGI welcomed 40 new members in the past year, including Canada, which became the 13th country to sign-on," said Lynn Kavanagh, Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection.
"There is no doubt the GGGI is becoming the foremost globally-recognized platform for addressing ghost gear," continued Kavanagh. "Our latest report shows that those who join the GGGI are better at dealing with ghost gear in their supply chains. By doing so, they acknowledge it as a sustainability issue and this signals a commitment to take actions to handle the problem. Seafood companies play a role in the creation of ghost gear and should be a part of the solution."
The GGGI developed the Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear which is the first in the world to recommend practical solutions and approaches to combat ghost fishing across the entire seafood supply chain, from gear manufacturers to seafood companies. The recommendations are now being adopted by GGGI members, including Thai Union and Bolton Group.
Notes to editors
An executive summary of the report can be found here.
About World Animal Protection
World Animal Protection (formerly known as the World Society for the Protection of Animals) has moved the world to protect animals for the last 50 years. World Animal Protection works to give animals a better life. Its activities include working with companies to ensure high standards of welfare for the animals in their care, working with governments and other stakeholders to prevent wild animals being cruelly traded, trapped or killed.
For more information, please visit https://www.worldanimalprotection.ca/
SOURCE World Animal Protection
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