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Marine pollution action welcomed by seafood giant Young’s - but more can be done

CRUCIAL action to tackle marine pollution has been applauded by Young’s Seafood today – World Oceans Day.

Marine pollution action welcomed by seafood giant Young’s - but more can be done

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is a cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

Grimsby’s UK leader in seafood plays a leading role in tackling this problem through its close involvement with the group, but, with lost and abandoned fishing gear a major source of ocean pollution and one of the biggest threats to marine animals, the Ross House team is calling for more to be done.

David Parker, pictured right, marine biologist and head of corporate social responsibility at Young’s, said: “As part of our Fish for Life programme, we believe that a fish loving nation is a happier nation, now and for generations to come. Plastic pollution in our seas is a big issue. It poses a significant yet hidden threat to both the seafood industry and the wider marine environment; affecting fishermen, other marine users and wildlife.

“We would absolutely like to see more of the seafood sector get involved in a meaningful way in any viable initiatives to clean up our oceans. A clean and healthy marine environment is imperative to great quality and sustainable seafood, and what’s good for our oceans is inherently good for our industry.”

Ghost gear poses a significant threat to the health and productivity of oceans. Owing to a range of factors including extreme weather events, accidental loss or deliberate disposal, it accumulates at an estimated 640,000 tonnes per year. That’s more than one tonne every minute, or one tonne of ghost gear per 125 tonnes of fish caught.

“As a leading processor of responsibly sourced fish, we strive to do the right thing, always,” said Mr Parker. “We are pleased to have had a hands-on role in the GGGI since its inception, bringing a seafood industry perspective through the network of our supply chains around the world. Since we started out, the GGGI has helped to reduce litter in the world’s oceans in three major ways.

“Firstly, through direct on-the-ground action with divers retrieving hundreds of lost fishing gear to be recycled. Secondly, raising awareness globally through innovative projects and political awareness work with the FAO, which has translated to lasting policy. And, thirdly, by providing recycling facilities for end of life gear with end use developments such as transforming this plastic into anything from skateboards to bikinis to sunglasses.”

Mostly made of plastic with a life expectancy of up to 600 years, it causes huge devastation to marine habitats. It continues to catch, entangle and kill hundreds of species including seals, turtles, dolphins and whales.

Christina Dixon, global campaign manager at World Animal Protection, who launched the GGGI, said: "This trans-boundary problem is an increasing concern to sustainable businesses and those who rely on the oceans for food and income. On World Oceans Day we’re calling on companies and governments to join the GGGI and make a difference for our oceans and the animals that call it their home.”

The call for more action by Young’s Seafood also marks over 10 years for the business as the leader in seafood sustainability as part of its award-winning Fish for Life corporate social responsibility programme. The business is celebrating over a decade of ensuring that ‘great, quality fish is accessible to all’.

Mr Parker added: “At Young’s, we’ve been supplying fish for more than 200 years. We believe that sustainable practice is the only way to safeguard the future of fish for generations to come. We are delighted to be celebrating over 10 years of responsible sourcing and look forward to the next decade!”

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