Derelict fishing gear is killing marine life and poisoning our oceans | Letters
A critical factor that is not mentioned in Emma Bryce’s excellent article on wasted fish crops (Millions of Tons of Dead Animals: The Growing Fish Waste Scandal, May 9) is the threat of fishing gear. abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear, also known as ghost gear. It is estimated that a single abandoned net kills an average of 500,000 marine invertebrates (think crabs and shrimp), 1,700 fish and four seabirds. Over time, lost fishing gear – the majority of which is plastic – break down into microplastics, which then enter the ocean food chain and release toxic chemicals. In fact, Ocean Conservancy studies have found ghost gear to be the most harmful form of marine debris.
Fortunately, there are solutions. The Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative brings together governments, NGOs and key players in the fishing industry to adopt best practices to prevent, mitigate and eliminate ghost gear.
Further, we urge UN member states to address ghost gear as part of their negotiations on the international legally binding instrument on plastics. As Bryce notes, it’s not just about fish — it’s about food security for 3 billion people and the sustainability of our oceans.
Senior Director of Global Ghost Gear initiative and international government relationship with Ocean Conservancy