Lost and abandoned fishing gear – called ghost gear – is a major source of ocean pollution, according to Young’s. This pollution has serious implications for the food industry, it claimed.
Commenting ahead of World Ocean’s Day today (June 8), Young’s head of corporate social responsibility David Parker said: “Pollution in our seas is a big issue. It poses a significant yet hidden threat to both the seafood industry and the wider marine environment – affecting fishermen, other marine users and wildlife.”
Parker called on members of the seafood sector to get involved with initiatives to help clean up the planet’s oceans.
‘Inherently good for our industry’
“A clean and healthy marine environment is imperative to great quality and sustainable seafood, and what’s good for our oceans is inherently good for our industry,” said Parker.
About 1t of ghost gear is left behind for every 125t of fish caught, according to the GGGI. Discarded fishing equipment continues to catch, entangle and kill hundreds of aquatic creatures after fishermen have left – including seals, turtles, dolphins and whales.
Global campaign manager at World Animal Protection Christina Dixon, who launched the GGGI, said: “This trans-boundary problem is an increasing concern to sustainable businesses and those who rely on the oceans for food and income.
“On World Oceans Day we’re calling on companies and governments to join the GGGI and make a difference for our oceans and the animals that call it their home.”
‘Make a difference for our oceans’
The GGGI has helped to reduce litter in the world’s oceans in three ways: retrieving lost fishing gear to be recycled, raising awareness of the threat of pollution to the ocean and providing recycling facilities for fishing gear at the end of its life.
Parker added: “We are pleased to have had a hands-on role in the GGGI since its inception, bringing a seafood industry perspective through the network of our supply chains around the world.
“We believe that sustainable practice is the only way to safeguard the future of fish for generations to come.”
Effects of abandoned fishing gear on the environment
- 640,000t of fishing gear left in oceans each year
- 25,000 nets in the north-east Atlantic were recorded lost or discarded each year
- 1 ghost net can kill $20,000 (£15,471) worth of Dungeness crab over 10 years
- 870 nets recovered in the US contained more than 32,000 marine animals