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A Hawaiian monk seal entangled in marine debris. (Photo: World Animal Protection)

PADI Joins Global Ghost Gear Initiative to Combat Lost and Abandoned Fishing Gear

  (UNITED STATES, 10/4/2017)

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), the world's largest recreational diver training organization, has joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), the first global alliance working to solve the worldwide problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear, known as ghost gear. Founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, the GGGI works to reduce the volume of ghost gear, remove and recycle such gear, and rescue entangled animals. By aligning with the GGGI, PADI Divers can be mobilized to look for and report harmful ghost gear that annually entangles and kills marine life including hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds. 

More than 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the world's oceans each year, with reports showing that this debris affects more than 800 species of marine life. (Photo: David Burdick)

PADI joins the GGGI as a member of its global solutions group to help develop new ways of mitigating the ghost gear problem. This complements the efforts of PADI's long-standing conservation partner, Project AWARE®, which actively works as a GGGI member to build evidence through programs like Dive Against Debris®. Together, the GGGI and PADI will develop and implement projects to reduce and remove ghost gear from the ocean. This includes equipping PADI Divers with the knowledge and techniques to identify, report and, with proper training, safely remove ghost gear from waters, creating a global movement of millions of underwater eyes on the lookout for ghost gear.

Ghost gear refers to any fishing equipment or fishing-related litter that has been abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded; also referred to as ‘derelict fishing gear’ and/or ‘fishing litter’. (Photo: GGGI)

More than 640,000 tons of fishing equipment is left in the world's oceans each year, with reports showing that this debris affects more than 800 species of marine life. Many nets lost in global waters are enormous – often far bigger than football fields – trapping and killing marine life under the surface. Mostly made of plastic, ghost gear is also highly durable and can persist in the oceans for up to 600 years.

By joining the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, PADI will encourage millions of scuba divers to help reduce lost and abandoned fishing gear. (Photo: World Animal Protection)

"We are happy to team up with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative," says Drew Richardson, PADI Worldwide President and CEO. "PADI is committed to protecting the ocean planet and, with our unique underwater vantage, the dive community can play a significant role in locating marine debris. Along with Project AWARE, we look forward to working with the GGGI to empower and mobilize PADI Divers to join the fight against ghost gear."

The GGGI works to reduce the volume of ghost gear, remove and recycle such gear, and rescue entangled animals.

With nearly one million certifications issued per year, PADI is committed to building a robust force of ocean ambassadors to protect marine life and take action for the ocean planet through the Ocean Health and Marine Animal Protection Pillars of its Four Pillars of Change

"We are proud to welcome PADI, with its millions of underwater eyes around the world looking out for ghost gear, as a pivotal new member for the GGGI," said Elizabeth Hogan, U.S. Oceans & Wildlife Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, the GGGI's founding participant. "Ghost gear is a true global problem that knows no borders, and PADI will surely play a crucial role in helping us to locate, remove and recycle ghost gear, which causes such immense suffering for marine animals."

PADI Divers can be mobilized to look for and report harmful ghost gear that annually entangles and kills marine life including hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, turtles and birds.

About ghost gear

Ghost gear is fishing equipment which has been abandoned or lost and is now causing harm to fisheries and ocean ecosystems. Whether intentionally discarded or accidentally lost, this highly durable gear is usually made of plastics, which can persist in the oceans for up to 600 years. Ghost gear entangles marine wildlife, adds to ocean waste, and creates costly expenses and hazards for fishers and marine communities. 

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

About PADI

Professional Association of Diving Instructors, PADI, is the world's largest recreational diver training organization with more than 133,000 PADI Professionals and 6400 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts worldwide. PADI issues nearly one million certifications each year, making underwater exploration and adventure accessible to people around the world. In doing so, PADI has created a growing number of ocean ambassadors to help defend and preserve the marine environment, and will continue to bring the conversation to the forefront to inspire action.

About the Global Ghost Gear Initiative

Founded in 2015 by World Animal Protection, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear (ghost gear) worldwide. The GGGI aims to improve the health of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals, and safeguard human health and livelihoods. Members include Project AWARE Foundation, TriMarine, Sainsbury's, Young's Seafood, Northern Prawn Fisheries, and the International Pole and Line Foundation. Eleven countries -- Belgium, Sweden, New Zealand, Tonga, Panama, The Netherlands, The Dominican Republic, Tuvalu, Samoa, Palau and Vanuatu – have signed Statements of Support for the GGGI, supporting its commitment to improve the health of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals from harm and safeguard human health and livelihoods. 

Source: World Animal Protection

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