Ghost Nets: towards a solution for one of the region's worst marine waste problems
To protect marine life
And build sustainable livelihoods
TierraMar’s Ghost Nets Australia Project
Impact investment to improve livelihoods, protect ecosystems and save endangered animals
Ghost Nets Australia. We are seeking to take years of learning and pilot project experience and apply it to in-country net recycling, that is self-sustaining, and creates a new economic opportunity for communities to lead their own conservation. We are also advising the Australian government on how to allocate money to new supply chains for local, national and possible commercial upcycling and recycling options.
Every net that doesn’t reach the ocean, as a result of your investment, is a huge benefit to ecosystem health, local livelihoods and wildlife conservation.
The problem: the ghost nets hotspot
Ghost net drift through the ocean. They can become buried under sand and brought back to life after storms years later. Ghost nets live for hundreds of years and continually catch and kill marine animals. The modelling we did with CSIRO predicted the path of nets so Indigenous rangers could find best places to protect turtles. It also discovered most nets were originating from Indonesia.
The source: building a legacy
Lack of spatial segregation of fisheries in Indonesia’s Arafura Sea was leading to net loss through gear collisions and illegal fishing. Ghost Nets Australia and TierraMar’s Indonesian staff worked with fishing industry, communities and government, becoming founding members of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative. Our knowledge, community good will and learning has since been rolled out elsewhere in the region and beyond. We now have a roadmap for action that could address the problem once and for all.
Turning the Ghost Net problem into a self-sustaining solution at scale
TierraMar works with multiple levels of government, agencies, communities and the corporate sector to design financially self-sustaining outcomes. We have 20 years of knowledge and the pilot programs to prove project viability. We are eager to talk to partners who can benefit from involvement in a scheme that will deliver measurable outcomes at scale.
A TierraMar pilot project
We created new supply chains for local communities in Indonesia and created skills and infrastructure to deal with ghost nets. This project has helped provided the learning we need to create this outcome at scale.
Linking conservation and livelihood outcomes
Healthy ecosystems are rich in wildife. When we engage with local communities, it is the fastest way to secure protections for animals too. In Merauke, our community leader was already running a mangrove nursery. Once nets had been removed, areas were reseeded. A good example of how an environmental issue can empower locals to determine their own conservation outcomes. These projects also increase household income, allowing children to be schooled.
TierraMar and Ghost Nets Australia
TierraMar runs the Ghost Nets Australia project. Find the resources online here. Founding director Anissa Lawrence helped designed the first project nearly 20 years ago, which was created for and first implemented with the Indigenous rangers in the Gulf of Carpentaria. It was first created to answer two questions:
- Why do we have the problem?
- How do we stop it at source?
Every net that doesn’t reach the ocean, is a huge benefit to ecosystem health, local livelihoods and wildlife conservation.