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Norway Strengthens Commitments to Tackling Ghost Gear and Joins the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Norway becomes newest government to join Global Ghost Gear Initiative to cooperate globally against lost and abandoned fishing gear to protect ecosystems, animals and livelihoods

24 October 2019 – Today, at the Our Ocean 2019 conference in Oslo, Norway, the Norwegian government announced it is joining the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) reinforcing its commitment to tackling the issue of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG).

By joining the GGGI, Norway joins 14 other governments who have also especially recognized the importance of addressing ghost gear at scale in protecting our ocean for future generations.

As part of joining the initiative, Norway has signaled its commitment to improve the health of marine ecosystems; protect marine animals from harm; and safeguard human health and livelihoods through the implementation of best practice solutions to ghost gear.

Ola Elvestuen, Norwegian Minster of the Climate and the Environment, said, “This announcement demonstrates the high priority Norway places on combating marine plastic litter including lost fishing gear. Since 1983, we have been retrieving lost fishing gear along our coastline. We join this initiative because we believe it is important to share knowledge and experiences. We need stronger preventive measures against ghost fishing, but also a new global agreement that addresses marine litter and microplastics in general across different sectors.”

Ingrid Giskes, Director of the GGGI, said, “Norway joining the GGGI is part of the increasing tide of countries who are addressing the urgent problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear in our ocean. The issue has never been more pressing than it is today, and we welcome Norway’s leadership in ocean protection.”

Norway’s GGGI membership is a clear continuation of its commitment to combating marine litter, including ALDFG. On a national level, Norway has a legislation in place whereby anyone who loses gear or cuts it adrift is obliged to search for it and report it if it cannot be retrieved. Norwegian Fisheries Authorities have conducted recovery operations since 1983 and have retrieved a total of more than 1000 tons of different types of fishing gear and 22,000 gill-nets over the years.

Co-founded by Joanna Toole in 2014, 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.

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NOTES TO EDITOR

ABOUT THE GLOBAL GHOST GEAR INITIATIVE (GGGI)

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. The GGGI is part of the Trash Free Seas® program’s portfolio of initiatives addressing marine debris at Ocean Conservancy. www.ghostgear.org

ABOUT NORWAY

In 2017, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) agreed to the long-term vision on eliminating all discharges of litter and microplastics to the oceans and to avoid detriment to marine ecosystems from marine litter and microplastics, following a proposal from Norway. Norway is promoting the need for a new global agreement against marine litter and microplastics, and are actively working at different international arenas to prevent and reduce the plastic pollution of the oceans.

On a national level, Norway has a long range of measures to prevent marine litter in place, and new ones are under development. To reduce ALDFG, any person that loses gear or cuts it adrift has a duty to search for the gear. If it is not possible to retrieve lost gear, must it be reported. Since 1983, the fisheries authorities have conducted yearly recovery actions of ALDFG in Norwegian waters, effort has been increased in recent years, along with development work to reduce ghost fishing. Norway have also initiated and led the nordic project on prevention and recovery of lost fishing gear “Clean Nordic Oceans”.

ABOUT OCEAN CONSERVANCY

Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, 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.