Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, ‘ghost gear’ is a major contributor to marine plastic pollution and an ever-growing problem impacting marine resources, wildlife and habitats. However, the existing governance framework to address fishing gear requires significant improvement.
Virgin plastic production and consumption have reached unsustainable levels. Overproduction has meant inexpensive virgin plastic is used freely and inefficiently, with unfavourable economics for most recycling, leading to a stark discrepancy between how much plastic is produced and how much is recycled.
The main component of sea-based sources of marine plastic pollution is abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, also referred to as ghost gear. Fishing gear accounts for approximately 10 per cent of global marine plastic pollution though in some regions it is closer to half the overall mass in our oceans and seas.