Ghost Fishing on decline thanks to Covanta

Let’s say you’re sitting at a bar one day.

While casually checking your super account (with Zuper, of course), you lock eyes with a tall, handsome stranger, who we’ll call Tom. You are the type to scoff at love at first sight but this one reels you in before you know what’s happening! It’s the start of a whirlwind romance, one that never fails to take your breath away. Then, with no warning, Tom disappears. You search high and low to no avail, and the infuriating realization hits you like a slap in the face with a cold fish.

You just got ghosted

You try to forget about Tom, but he seems to have contaminated every corner. You can’t eat, sleep, or even move without being reminded of him. He pops up in your Facebook feed, watches your Instagram stories, and still (infuriatingly) deep likes some of your posts. Like a classic ghoster, Tom is haunting you online, but never actually physically materalising.

About now you’re probably wondering:

  1. Who hurt me, and
  2. What does this have to do with fish

Well my dear reader don’t worry.

  1. I am fine, and
  2. A version of this analogy is actually something that millions of aquatic animals face, and I’m sad to say that in the case of fish, we are Tom.

Ghost fishing is a phenomenon by which discarded and/or lost fishing gear ends up floating aimlessly around the ocean, entangling and killing various species of animals. Humans are responsible for an estimated* 640,000 tonnes* of lines, hooks, and nets dumped into the ocean every year, and over the years it has compounded to make up over half of the trash that is currently floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Species ranging from whales to turtles to tiny fish are affected. If mistakenly eaten, it can cause suffocation and malnutrition as animals can’t digest the plastic. Those that get tangled die slowly and painfully from starvation, and the opportunists who try to take advantage also get trapped, leading to a vicious cycle. Worse, these nets take over 600 years to degrade and even then the debris left behind can have effects for centuries. At least human Tom had the decency to completely peace out, or in my case, get de-friended.

Covanta is an establishment dedicated to working with companies and communities to find sustainable solutions to their waste management challenges. To help clean up this ghost fishing mess, Covanta has joined forces with multiple partners to create the Fishing for Energy (FfE) program. This program streamlines the recycling and collection of fishing gear. Commercial fisherman can reel in and drop off abandoned equipment for free at a set port, where the gear will then be stripped of recyclable metals and processed into clean energy.

In the 10 years since it has launched, FfE has cleaned up more than 3 million pounds of fishing equipment, and continues to reach out to more ports and people to educate and hopefully one day stop ghost fishing altogether. We at Zuper are all for ridding the world of ghost fishing (and Toms!) and we are incredibly proud to help our members put some of their super into Covanta, when they choose Zuper Green.

This article is general in nature, and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if the information is appropriate and whether you need to speak to an accredited professional.

Han Ju Seo

3rd year Uni student from the States trying to figure out her place in the world. Deeply passionate about social impact, education, and fluffy dogs.

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