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A Voice for our Ocean

New Internship In Memory Of Ocean Advocate Joanna Toole

Global Ghost Gear Initiative launches internship for female leaders in ocean conservation to tackle lost and abandoned fishing gear

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23 October 2019 – Today, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) launched the Joanna (Jo) Toole Internship to support women in ocean conservation.

The internship will give an aspiring ocean conservationist the opportunity to work with the GGGI and its host and partner organisations on projects to protect the ocean, its inhabitants, and ocean communities from the effects of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) – also known as ghost gear.

Named in memory of one of the co-founders of the GGGI who was tragically killed in the March ‘19 Ethiopian Airlines crash, the Joanna Toole Internship has been created in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Care, the Center for Coastal Studies and the Joanna Toole Foundation.

Ingrid Giskes, Director of the GGGI, said: “It is an honour to be launching this internship in Joanna’s memory. It is just one of the ways we can ensure Joanna’s dedication to tackling ghost gear and protecting the ocean becomes her legacy.”

Sigrid Lueber, President of OceanCare, added: “Animal welfare has always been very important to Joanna. We are very happy that we can support the fieldwork component of the internship through a month of fieldwork where the intern can actually learn about animal rescue or engage with collecting ghost nets.”

For the inaugural internship, the GGGI is looking for a female professional studying marine science, biology, political or social science, or any related/relevant topic with a keen interest in ghost gear and in pursuing a career in ocean conservation.

The intern will work with the GGGI on a wide range of projects, from seafood industry engagement and fisheries solutions projects, to animal disentanglements and supporting research. The field component will be based at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts; the office-based component will be hosted by Ocean Conservancy at its Washington, D.C. office.

In March 2019, Joanna Toole, one of the principal architects and driving forces behind the establishment of the GGGI, was tragically killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash as she was on her way to further engage the international community to address ghost gear and its environmental impacts.

The GGGI, in close consultation with Joanna’s family, friends and the members of the GGGI, has proposed to establish the Joanna Toole Internship in recognition of Joanna’s leading role in addressing ghost gear and in celebration of her legacy and dedication to her work.

Joanna’s father, Adrian Toole, said: “My daughter Joanna dedicated her all too short life to animal welfare, lastly working on ocean issues, and the Joanna Toole Foundation is pleased to be associated with GGGI members in this internship award, hopefully the first of many. As a woman and an animal-lover Joanna sometimes struggled to be taken seriously by some of the organisations that she needed to influence and I’m sure that this internship with the Center for Coastal Studies and Ocean Conservancy will equip a woman seeking to follow in Joanna’s footsteps with vital work experience, whilst actively contributing to GGGI’s mission.”

The Joanna Toole Internship will be hosted by Ocean Conservancy to support GGGI’s work as well as that of participating GGGI partner organizations that have come forward; and will be formally awarded through the Joanna Toole Foundation (to be established) together with the GGGI.

To apply, visit:



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Co-founded by Joanna Toole in 2014, and launched by World Animal Protection in 2015, the GGGI is a cross-sectoral alliance addressing abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) or “ghost gear” worldwide. Through the collective impact of its members, the GGGI aims to mitigate the ecological and economic impacts of ghost gear. The GGGI serves as a global clearinghouse for information on ALDFG; informs specific plans, strategies and policies to prevent and reduce ALDFG; and catalyzes practical and replicable solutions for on-the-ground and in-the-water removal and prevention of ghost gear. The GGGI also works with governments and multilateral organizations around the world to elevate the issue of ghost gear on the global agenda and inspire international action. Ocean Conservancy assumed the role of GGGI lead partner in 2019 and manages the day-to-day operations, budget and staff of the GGGI.  The GGGI is part of the Trash Free Seas® program’s portfolio of initiatives addressing marine debris at Ocean Conservancy.


OceanCare is a Swiss non-profit organisation. It was founded in 1989 and has a strong commitment to realistic and cooperative initiatives. The organisation works at national and international levels in the areas of marine pollution, environmental changes, fisheries, whaling, sealing, captivity of marine mammals and public education. OceanCare holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and is partner of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the UNEP/CMS Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS). OceanCare has also been accredited as a Major Group to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), which is the governing body of UNEP and is a part of the UNEP Global Partnership on Marine Litter. 


Based at the tip of Cape Cod in the Atlantic Ocean, the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) is a non-profit scientific research organization with an emphasis on marine mammals of the western North Atlantic and on the coastal and marine habitats and resources of the Gulf of Maine. With a small but robust staff, CCS promotes stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems, conducts interdisciplinary research activities and provides educational resources that encourage the responsible use and conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems. CCS is home base to the federally-permitted Marine Animal Entanglement Response team, and regularly collaborates with other institutions and individuals to advance the Center’s mission.

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Madeline Black


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Tom Shennan-Barker

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