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Commercial Fishing



IPNLF scales up commitment to rid seas of ghost fishing gear

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the only non-profit association that is solely committed to promoting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains, has announced that its Socio Economic Manager, Zacari Edwards, has also taken up the role of co-coordinator of the Building Evidence Working Group, established by the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI).

In this role, Edwards will sit alongside working group chair Gideon Jones of the Emerald Sea Protection Society and fellow co-coordinator Kelsey Richardson of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The GGGI comprises commercial stakeholders, as well as NGOs, academia and governments, who are collectively focused on solving the problem of lost and abandoned fishing nets, line, rope, traps, pots, and floats – collectively known as ‘ghost gear’. Often, this gear will continue to indiscriminately catch fish and other marine animals, putting many threatened species at risk.

Edwards’ appointment to the working group is aligned with his ongoing work exploring the varying impacts of the tuna fishing sector on marine plastics pollution, with a particular emphasis on quantifying the comparatively low contribution of one-by-one caught fisheries to this global challenge, as well as the mitigation efforts being put in place by pole-and-line, handline and troll tuna fishermen to address this.

Commenting on the role, Edwards says, “The Global Ghost Gear Initiative continues to embark on groundbreaking, collaborative work aimed at tackling the problem of ghost fishing in an increasing number of fisheries throughout the world. Addressing this particular challenge to marine conservation is a great passion of mine, so becoming part of the GGGI programme in a more official capacity, and being able to help drive the crucial evidence building elements of its work is a fantastic opportunity, while also strengthening IPNLF’s partnership with the alliance.”

Working alongside the working group’s chair and fellow co-coordinator, Edwards will help track and develop the workplan’s progress, which has to date been principally focused on gathering global data sets and analysing them to better understand the global impact of ghost fishing, as well as building a scientific resource library, and promoting data gathering efforts at international conferences and policy fora. Additionally, by sharing insights and expertise gained from his close collaborations with fisheries specifically to collect abandoned, lost, discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) data, he will seek to help the group better incentivise effective data sharing, as well as the best ways to collect more accurate, up-to-date estimations of the ALDFG produced by the broader fishing industry.

Joel Baziuk, Deputy Director (Acting) of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, says, “We are very glad to have IPNLF more formally engaged in the GGGI to draw on Zacari’s expertise, fisheries background and perspective as part of the GGGI Building Evidence Working Group. It’s critical to bring a variety of perspectives including industry around the table to ensure we are addressing the ghost gear issue as holistically as possible.”