For the past year, Ingrid Giskes has been leading the oceans work for World Animal Protection – tackling the problem of lost, abandoned and discarded fishing gear. Known as ghost gear, a staggering one tonne enters our oceans every minute – trapping, injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of marine animals.
Originally from Belgium, Ingrid now lives on Sydney’s northern beaches and is a keen swimmer, sailor and snorkeler – the ocean and the life within it, inspires her every day.
Previously she worked for Amnesty International on refugee issues after a studying and working in Hangzhou, China.
While fishing gear is valuable, often it is accidentally lost in severe weather conditions. In many countries isn’t access to disposal facilities, leaving fishers with less options in terms of responsible gear management. When part of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices, gear might be intentionally discarded.
Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria is home to six of the world’s seven sea turtle species and has some of the largest sea turtle nesting areas in the Indo-Pacific region.
It is also a ghost gear hot spot with reports of three tonnes of netting washing up annually for every kilometre of coastline.
These nets likely travel on currents from countries to the north, such as Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and India.
In addition to her role with World Animal Protection, Ingrid is also chair of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) – a global alliance of industry, government, academia and NGOs working to tackle the problem worldwide.
In her role with World Animal Protection and through the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, Ingrid is working on sustainable solutions to tackle the problem of ghost fishing gear including the three Rs;
- Reducing the amount of ghost fishing gear entering our oceans
- Removing gear that is already there
- Re-using fishing gear into other products