Bumble Bee Will Work with the GGGI to Scale Up Ghost Gear Prevention Efforts in their Supply Chain and Beyond
Today, Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative® (GGGI) and The Bumble Bee Seafood Company announced a new partnership to reduce abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, or ghost gear. Through a five-year project, Bumble Bee will support the GGGI’s ghost gear data collection efforts, the mapping and removing of abandoned gear from key fishing areas, and an assessment of sources of gear loss in Bumble Bee’s own supply chain.
“As governments gather at the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) to act on the ocean plastic problem, it’s critical that the private sector does the same – which is why we’re so encouraged to see this commitment from Bumble Bee,” said GGGI Director Ingrid Giskes. “Ghost fishing gear is the single most harmful form of ocean plastic to marine life and solving this problem will take an all-hands-on deck effort. As one of North America’s largest seafood producers, Bumble Bee has the opportunity to make a big difference on this issue and lead others in the industry to do the same.”
Bumble Bee has been a GGGI member since 2018 and in that time has supported project work reducing, removing, recycling, and marking fishing gear in Indonesia. Through this expanded partnership, Bumble Bee will support upgrades to the GGGI’s Ghost Gear Data Portal, allowing the Initiative to build evidence of the problem more effectively at a global scale and across different fisheries. Together with the GGGI, Bumble Bee will conduct surveys across components of their supply chain in various geographies to better assess causes of gear loss and implement locally sustainable solutions. They will also support GGGI conducted surveys in the Bay of Fundy and remove ghost gear in spawning areas to help bring back critical halibut stocks.
“Through our ‘Seafood Future’ platform, our company is committed to working with partners like GGGI to address some of the biggest challenges in the ocean sustainability space, and that includes finding solutions to reduce and remove ghost gear,” said Leslie Hushka, SVP of Global Corporate and Social Responsibility at the Bumble Bee Seafood Company. “We know that to continue to feed a growing population, we must make protecting and nurturing the ocean central to everything we do as a company, and this is an important part of that journey.”
In addition to supporting the GGGI, Bumble Bee will fund trash tagging efforts in key areas to identify what is being found, how it travels and where it aggregates. The company will also work with Ocean Conservancy and the University of Toronto’s International Trash Trap Network, as well as local organizations, to install trash traps in the San Diego area with the goal of removing plastic waste from waterways and preventing ocean plastic pollution.
The announcement of this partnership comes as the global community gathers at UNEA-5.2 to agree on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, including plastic pollution. The GGGI will attend UNEA-5.2 to advocate for the inclusion of fishing gear in the negotiations for a new binding global plastics treaty. Despite the impact of ALDFG, there is currently no dedicated international instrument in place to address it.
About the Global Ghost Gear Initiative
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the only cross-sectoral alliance dedicated to solving the problem of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) – widely referred to as “ghost gear” – around the world. The GGGI brings together more than 120 member organizations, including 18 national governments as well as representatives from civil society, the private sector, public agencies, academia, intergovernmental organizations, and others from across the fishing industry to tackle ghost gear at a global scale. Since its founding in 2015, the GGGI has worked to implement a wide variety of approaches to ghost gear across prevention, mitigation and remediation strategies, shaping fisheries management policy and building the evidence base around the prevalence and impact of this pervasive global threat. In 2017, the GGGI developed the Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear, which was updated in June, 2021 and has been adopted by a range of seafood companies and in national and regional marine litter and fisheries management action plans. The GGGI has made meaningful change on the ground in fishing economies and communities, partnering with local fishers to remove ghost gear in places like the Gulf of Maine, Myanmar, and Vanuatu. Learn more at www.ghostgear.org.
About Ocean Conservancy
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.