The Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has announced that a mandatory goal-based requirement for the marking of fishing gear will be developed.
This is a strategy recommended by the GGGI Best Practice Framework for the Management of Fishing Gear (C-BPF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Voluntary Guidelines for the Marking of Fishing Gear.
‘Gear marking is critical to reducing ghost gear, and the GGGI is thrilled with the IMO’s decision to make it mandatory. As the single most harmful form of marine debris, we are glad that steps to reduce ghost gear are being adopted at the international level,‘ said Ingrid Giskes, Senior Director of the GGGI and International Government Relations at Ocean Conservancy.
The GGGI recommends gear marking as an important strategy to mitigate the prevalence of ghost gear as described in the C-BPF. The GGGI works with governments, NGOs and companies around the world to work to eliminate ghost gear and protect the ocean.
The new IMO gear marking mandate will be addressed in MARPOL Annex V, which generally prohibits the discharge of any garbage into the sea, with some limited exceptions.
Ocean Conservancy and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative will continue to work as part of the Clean Shipping Coalition at the IMO’s Prevention Pollution and Response (PPR) subcommittee to help make draft amendments to MARPOL Annex V and the associated guidelines, and to help develop a Circular to the MEPC to promote the use of fishing gear marking systems, internationally recognised guidelines, and technical support documents.