Bumble Bee and Ghost Gear
No, this is not the name of a new horror film about swarms of threatening bees with long stingers and ghosts wielding axes. Its actually quite a pleasant, and a true story about the Bumble Bee Seafood Company’s efforts to restore the health of our oceans.
Our oceans play multiple roles. First, they serve as regulators of global climate change. Second, oceans are repositories of rich biodiversity and home to the largest traded food commodity in the world. Seafood provides sustenance to approximately 3 billion people globally, who rely on wild-caught and farmed seafood as a primary source of protein according to the WWF.
So where do ghosts come into the picture? Ghost gear, according to the Olive Ridley Project, is fishing gear that has been abandoned, lost or discarded at sea, in ports and at beaches. The term ‘ghost gear’ refers to all types of derelict fishing gear, whether that be nets, lines, traps and pots or fish aggregating devices.
Ghost gear kills up to 30 per cent of some fish stocks
© Elain Blum / Marine Photobank
The seafood giant announced the expansion if it’s ongoing partnership with Ocean Conservancy, a global nonprofit to expand their efforts to clean hazardous fishing nets out of waterways in addition to stopping fishers of all sizes from discarding their ghost gear in ways that are harmful to the environment.
This important partnership is addressing one of the most crucial issues oceans face today – plastic pollution. Bumble Bee did not just recently step up to the sustainability plate. In fact, three years ago, it launched its Seafood Future platform, to address its broad goals of protecting and nurturing the ocean and all who depend on it – essentially, everyone – for a healthier marine ecosystem.
There is anywhere from 50-75 trillion pieces of plastic and microplastics currently in the ocean which you cannot see, namely because only about 1 percent of that total floats to the surface. The other 99 percent stays below the surface, according to Itsafishthing.com. And approximately 20 percent of the plastic pollution in the oceans is from marine activities, like commercial fishing.
And Bumble Bee’s initiative doesn’t stop there. The company has also partnered with SeeTrees and SustainableSurf. Together, these organizations have provided a successful model for ocean restoration, regeneration and rehabilitation in two countries – the US (Southern California) and Indonesia. There, they work with local restoration partners to do active kelp and mangrove forest rehabilitation, rebuilding damaged ecosystems that can sequester carbon and restore fisheries.
This is only one of many examples of how public/private partnerships (PPPs) can develop and carry out positive and effective initiatives that cannot be accomplished by one entity alone. Let’s work toward the develop more PPPs for the benefit of the environment, because, we are all in this together.