John West owners joins ghost gear fight

THE Thai  Union Group,  one of the world’s largest seafood companies, has joined forces with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative  in a drive to reduce the growing problem of abandoned and discarded fishing gear  worldwide.
The  global ghost initiative (GGGI)  is an alliance founded by World Animal Protection, dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear on  a global scale.  Its  strength lies in the diversity of its participants including the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Every participant has a critical role to play to mitigate ghost gear locally, regionally and globally.
Thai Union, whose brands include John West in the UK, Chicken of the Seas in the US and Norway’s King Oscar, says the move reflects its commitment to combat marine plastic pollution, in line with SeaChange®, the company’s sustainability strategy to drive meaningful improvements across the entire global seafood industry.
Joel Baziuk, Secretariat for the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, said: “Ghost gear represents one of the biggest threats to animals in our oceans, significantly reducing fish stocks and entangling, injuring and killing millions of animals every year. It is key for seafood industry leaders such as Thai Union to come together with NGOs, government and other stakeholders to improve the health of marine ecosystems, protect marine animals and safeguard human health and livelihoods.”
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation  estimates that every year,  around eight  million tons of plastic enters the ocean, most of it urban waste, particularly plastic litter and micro-plastics.
Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear, or ‘ghost gear’ as it is also known, accounts for at least 10 per cent of this total waste, and causes considerable ecological and socioeconomic problems. It washes up on beaches, severely impacts reef environments, poses a threat to navigation, negatively affects global fish stock levels, harms marine animals and is a significant cause of loss of other fishing gear in use.
Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development says research shows that  70 per cent of floating microplastics debris in the open ocean is fishing-related.