Marine Debris Program participates in North America Trilateral Roundtable on Ghost Gear
SEPTEMBER 11, 2023 — On August 30, 2023, NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) Director, Nancy Wallace, participated in a Trilateral Government Roundtable on Ghost Gear, “Advancing Cooperation to Address Ghost Gear in North America.” Forty-three representatives from the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States attended this virtual roundtable. The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, an MDP partner and grantee through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement funding, hosted the event.
Derelict fishing gear—including fishing nets, lines, traps, and other equipment that are lost or abandoned in the environment—can cause huge problems for wildlife, the habitats they depend on, and the economy. One of these problems is ghost fishing, when lost gear continues to trap and kill fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, sea turtles, and seabirds. This lost gear is often called ghost gear. With the support of MDP, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative is coordinating with partners in California and Mexico to better manage and prevent the loss of fishing gear and launch the North American Net Collection Initiative, to collect used and retired fishing gear for processing and recycling for use in new products.
The Global Ghost Gear Initiative hosted the August roundtable to share government perspectives and experiences on addressing ghost gear and to expand collective impact on ghost gear prevention, mitigation, and remediation in North America. Government representatives shared experiences and lessons learned from their national experiences through presentations and a facilitated discussion. MDP Director Wallace provided an overview of NOAA’s experiences in addressing the issue and highlighted the importance of a national program that is supported by local action and interventions that can be best tailored to particular social, economic and cultural characteristics. The three governments will continue collaboration on the issue through a separate USMCA project being funded by the Agreement’s Commission on Environmental Cooperation.