A Voice for Our Ocean

Spain Becomes First Mediterranean Country to Join the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Spain is the 19th national government 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 at an event hosted by Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative® (GGGI), Deputy Prime Minister of Spain Teresa Ribera announced that Spain is joining the 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”). Spain joins 18 other national governments as a member of the Initiative.

Spain is home to over 3,000 miles of coastline and a prominent fishing industry. In the European Union, Spain boasts the largest fishing industry by catch weight and number of fishers and the second highest per capita seafood consumption.

“Spain is a major player in the global fishing industry and joining the GGGI will make a huge impact in the fight to protect our ocean from the impacts of ghost gear,” said Ingrid Giskes, Director of the GGGI at Ocean Conservancy. “We are already working with a number of Mediterranean partner organizations and with the Government of Spain now joining, we will be able to make an even bigger impact to address the most harmful form of marine debris to sea life.”

“The health of maritime ecosystems does matter, and I think that working together we can achieve much more than going on our own. We, in Spain, are working on different initiatives: developing a protocol to identify, to assess, and to retrieve ghost gear; working to establish concrete collection rates for recycling; and developing extended producer responsibility regimes. We encourage other countries to join this initiative and commit effort towards a cleaner, safer, and more resilient ocean,” said Deputy Prime Minister Ribera in a recorded message for the GGGI-hosted event, ‘From Policy to Practice: Showcase of Multi-stakeholder Approaches to Address Ghost Gear Around the World.’

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 the ocean gyres by weight and up to a 30% decline in some fish stocks can be attributed to ghost gear.

As a GGGI member, Spain will work closely with the initiative and regional bodies like the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR) on setting ambitious national and regional targets on recycling and End Producer Responsibility (EPR). The Sub-Directorate General for Marine Protection will lead implementation of Spain’s commitment to the GGGI.

Spain also supports the adoption of the legally binding instrument to address marine litter at the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA 5.2). The Spanish Government has committed to join other milestone ocean events this year, such as the UN Ocean Conference, where they will continue their work to address marine debris and encourage other countries to join the GGGI.

The other 18 members of the GGGI include Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherland, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Sweden, Tonga, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, United States, and Vanuatu.


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

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, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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