The United States Becomes a Member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Posted Thu, 07/16/2020 - 08:24

We are excited to share that the United States Government formally joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI). Last month, the United States Department of State signed a statement of support for the GGGI pledging continued United States Government commitment to address abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear, also known as “ghost gear,” in the global ocean. Addressing marine debris, including ghost gear, is a key priority for the United States and its efforts will be amplified through participation in the GGGI. (Read the Department of State’s July 16 press release here.)

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative is the foremost international collaboration working to address the problem of ghost gear and has broad representation across industry, government, and civil society. GGGI conducts much needed work to measure the impacts of ghost gear and to develop, share, and document best practices for addressing it. GGGI is managed by the Washington D.C.-based non-profit organization, Ocean Conservancy.

Ghost gear is one of the main types of marine debris found in the ocean and can have serious impacts to the environment, as well as to the many industries that rely on a healthy ocean for income. When gear, such as fishing nets or traps, is lost or discarded it can continue to trap and kill fish, crustaceans, sea turtles, and seabirds for years. Ghost gear can also entangle marine mammals, such as whales and dolphins. 

By becoming a member of the GGGI, the United States Government can better support this key international initiative and foster stronger collaboration between the Department of State and the NOAA Marine Debris Program to reduce ghost gear incidence. The United States is proud and excited to join 15 other governments and over 85 partners to tackle this global issue and help keep our ocean free of marine debris.

The United States Becomes a Member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Posted Thu, 07/16/2020 - 08:24

For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

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Thu, 08/06/2020 - 12:27

Trying to get anyone with the State Department Agency or the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs run by Jonathan Moore is impossible. Therefore my comment to anyone interested the solution to ghost gear and nets all make of nylon filaments and monofilaments is proper fortification of the original gear. Mfg. of these nets are not regulated fro lifetime performance and the technology is now available to make nets last 25 to 75 years outdoors! At this stage its a recycling game but front end intervention is required to slow down the level of marine litter and this can be accomplished with proper long term UV and thermal stability. However, the market is driven by mfg. that wants to sell more low fortified and expensive nets and not to increase the level of performance. This must be regulated or altered to illustrate to existing mfg. that they are no longer going to be tolerated.

Janet Burrows

Sun, 08/16/2020 - 09:59

Alleluia Ocean Conservancy!! GGGI!

The lights are on but no one is home! Solutions are available but no one is interested therefore we will go it alone as usual. Lead , Follow or get out of our way State Department

Emily Veale

Wed, 08/26/2020 - 23:18

Switch from plastic production to other materials that don't harm the ocean, the environment, or people.
Incentivize using natural fibers for nets and fishing line, sourced from overgrown areas, completely biodegradable and not harmful to ocean.
Gather all plastics and sell plastics back to plastic production companies. Retire and close the loop of plastics productions, switch to materials that have a lifespan based on their expected use for constructions and developments.
Fund deep-sea plastic retrieval and recovery of bullets and other war materials.
Safely store, melt, degrade or deactivate harmful materials away from ocean. Maybe use them to trim mountains or find a way to store them safely.
If research already exists and has better solutions to these problems, let the best ideas be implemented to give people a sense of actual pride in humanity which is very much needed at this time.


Thu, 08/27/2020 - 12:32

Biodegradation does not mean no harm to aquatic life!! EOA and EAA and other Estrogenic compounds from biodegradables do harm to marine life. Please get your facts and science correct.
The current nets causing the problem of ghost gear and damage to aquatic life is a simple litter problem from humans who treat degraded nets and damage goods as trash and have no regard to its disposal . The ocean is used to dispose of medical waste from hospitals for years up and down the Atlantic and syringes with needles float on the beaches at night for children to puncture their feet. However no one talks about this issue but that is OK . Back to nylon nets. The solution is to eliminate fishing and eliminate fishing nets and no more plastic! However this is ridiculous and the key goes back to built in obsolence and no proper fortification. Fortify the nets and they last 25 to 50 years and reduce the litter! However, this is not going to wash with profits from making nets that degrade prematurely. The more degradation the more they sell and when they degrade they litter with impunity. Biodegradable nets do not have the durability to withstand the photo thermal and environmental water damage or pH conditions this is why nylon and polyolefins are used but there are no regulations for life time guarantee so we are in a perpetual loop until action by the federal and state agencies imposes new regulations based on technology that is available.

Carl Sheppard

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 12:09

Just found a small section of a ghost net (BOUT 150 LBS). What should I do with it?

Thanks for the question. If you submit this question through our webmail ( and provide your location, we'll be able to connect you with the appropriate regional coordinator who can give you the best guidance.

That shipped has sailed and the efforts to educate and solve this problem is no longer of interest by the Federal Government especially in the former administration that politicized the efforts but were not interest in a solution. No confidence in their convictions. Therefore, we have moved the solution off shore to other countries that have embraced the solution to this problem. Maybe you can send the 150 lbs to Mar Lago or the Bedminester NJ golf course and bill it directly to the former Chief .