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The Republic of Korea Becomes 20th Country to Join the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

The Republic of Korea to join the global initiative tackling most harmful form of ocean plastic pollution

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KOROR, PALAU – Today, during the Our Ocean 2022 Conference, the President of the National Institute of Fisheries Science and Deputy Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Dong-sik Woo announced that the Republic of Korea is joining Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative® (GGGI). The GGGI is the world’s only alliance solely dedicated to solving the problem of abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (also known as “ghost gear”). The Republic of Korea joins 19 other national governments as a member of the Initiative and is the first member country in Asia.

The Republic of Korea has the 12th largest fishing industry and is among the highest per capita seafood consumption in the world. The Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries reported that as of 2019, their per capita consumption of fish was 69.8kg (153.8lbs).

“We are thrilled to welcome the Republic of Korea as a member of the GGGI. As a global leader in the fishing industry, their commitment to addressing ghost gear is a huge asset in the fight to protect our ocean,” said Ingrid Giskes, Director of the GGGI at Ocean Conservancy. “We look forward to working with their government for a healthier and more sustainable ocean.”

“The Korean government has thus far made various endeavors to prevent ghost fishing and reduce marine debris. It gives us great pleasure and excitement to join global efforts to tackle this issue by becoming a member of the GGGI,” said President of National Institute of Fisheries Science and Deputy Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Dong-sik Woo.

Gear loss occurs wherever fishing takes place, often due to rough weather, snags beneath the surface, and marine traffic accidentally running it over and cutting it loose. In addition to its lethality, it’s also among the most prevalent forms of ocean plastic pollution: research indicates that ghost fishing gear makes up 46-70% of all floating macroplastics in ocean gyres by weight, and up to a 30% decline in some fish stocks can be attributed to ghost gear.

The Republic of Korea has already begun their efforts to address ghost gear by working on the research and development of new fishing gear material sources, real time tracking and reporting of gear to support effective retrieval, a deposit-return scheme for retrieved gear, and implementation of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear.

This news also comes ahead of the Republic of Korea co-hosting the 7th International Marine Debris Conference (IMDC) in September 2022. The IMDC is the world’s longest-running international conference series dedicated to the issue of marine litter and plastic pollution.

The other 19 members of the GGGI include Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States, and Vanuatu.

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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 100 stakeholder groups, including 17 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 preventative, mitigate and curative approaches to ghost gear, shaping fisheries management policy and building the evidence base around the prevalence and impact of this threat. In 2017, the GGGI developed the Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear, which 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, Panama City, 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.

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