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At Plastics Treaty Negotiations Germany Joins the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, Committing 100,000 Euros Annually

Germany is the 21st country to join global initiative tackling the deadliest form of ocean plastic pollution

Washington, DC – WEBWIRE

During the third round of International Legally Binding Instrument on plastic pollution (ILBI) negotiations, commonly referred to as the Plastics Treaty, Dr. Axel Borchmann, Germany’s Deputy Head of Division for the Ministry of the Environment, announced that Germany has joined Ocean Conservancy’s Global Ghost Gear Initiative (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,” which is a major source of ocean plastic pollution. Germany also announced that it would be committing 100,000 euros annually to the GGGI.

“As the deadliest form of marine debris and mostly made from plastics, addressing ghost gear is critical to solving the ocean plastics pollution crisis. We are thrilled that Germany has joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative during INC-3 and hope that other countries taking part in the plastics treaty negotiations will join us in addressing this pervasive threat to our ocean,” said Ingrid Giskes, Director of the GGGI at Ocean Conservancy.

Germany’s Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke remarked, “The ocean is already suffering from the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, and plastic pollution is putting it under further enormous pressure. Ghost gear and other legacies from the fishing industry now account for as much as 50 percent of marine plastic litter. We must and we want to counteract this trend, which is why I am delighted that Germany has now joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. We can only deal with this urgent problem at international level. That is also true of the new round of negotiations for a global agreement on plastic pollution. I am optimistic that we will make key progress in the negotiations and the international community will reaffirm that it considers the protection of our natural environment to be a top priority. We must preserve our oceans as climate regulators, as unique ecosystems and as habitats for a multitude of fascinating species.”

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. Fishing gear is a major source of ocean plastics pollution and represents up to 86% of all floating macroplastics in ocean gyres by weight. Ocean Conservancy research has found that ghost gear is the single deadliest form of marine debris, and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) estimates that an up to 30% decline in some fish stocks can be attributed to ghost gear.

As a GGGI member, Germany will work closely with the initiative and regional bodies on setting ambitious national and regional targets with the aim of preventing and mitigating the impacts of ghost gear.

The 20 other member countries of the GGGI include Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Samoa, South Korea, Spain, 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 150 stakeholder groups, including 21 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 evidence-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit, or follow us on FacebookX (formerly Twitter) or Instagram.

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