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Ghost Gear

Project ReCon tracks and retrieves first deadly and destructive ghost gear 4 kms off the coast from Weipa

The first ghost gear has been tracked by Tangaroa Blue’s Project ReCon team and retrieved by Indigenous rangers 4 kms off the coast of Weipa.

With the support of Satlink, the Project ReCon team repurposed an echo sounder buoy, which was recovered during a recent clean-up, to track and monitor the 3 tonnes of discarded commercial fishing gear while the Indigenous rangers, Australian Border Force and Capricornia Contracting mobilised to collect it.  

“This is Project ReCon in action, turning waste into effective tracking equipment and deploying it to help reduce the impact discarded commercial fishing has on our marine environment,” says Heidi Tait, CEO of Tangaroa Blue Foundation.    

Since its launch in December last year, more than 83 vessels and 21 tuna companies from all over the world have become part of Project ReCon.

“Project ReCon represents the way forward for sustainability in tuna fishing, and for environmental projects in general,” Kathryn Gavira, Satlink’s Head of Science & Sustainability, says.

“Through Tangaroa Blue Foundation we’re building on the strengths of local communities, the government agencies that are involved, as well as indigenous rangers in the area where the buoys are being recovered and re-used, while on Satlink’s end a huge part of the fishing industry has come on-board and is involved in the project.”

“We are so proud to see yet another achievement for this fantastic collaboration, and we look forward to more ghost gear being recovered!” Gavira says.

Senior Border Force Officer Kim Hockey, from ABF’s Weipa District Office, said that the ABF was excited and pleased to be able to assist Tangaroa Blue.

“Here in Weipa, the ABF and Tangaroa Blue have developed a close working relationship as we collaborate in this space to improve the health and safety of Australia’s marine environment. Where we can, we will continue to enhance our ability to track and retrieve ghost gear.” Officer Hockey said.

Project ReCon is a unique worldwide circular economy collaboration between fishing companies and local partners, created by technology provider Satlink and Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

This project also received funding from Ocean Conservancy and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

For further information on Project ReCon, visit:

About Tangaroa Blue Foundation

Tangaroa Blue Foundation is an Australian registered charity focused on the health of our marine environment, and coordinates the Australian Marine Debris Initiative (AMDI), an on-ground network of volunteers, communities, organisations and agencies around the country monitoring the impacts of marine debris along their stretch of coastline. Since the program started in 2004, 24 million pieces of marine debris have been removed from the Australian coastline and data on this debris collated and inputted into the (AMDI) Database. The database is used to firstly identify what is impacting different sections of the coast, and then to track wherever possible where those items are coming from. Lastly, stakeholders are then brought together to work on practical solutions and create source reduction plans to stop marine debris from entering our oceans in the first place. The AMDI Database has open access to all contributors who are also recognised when data is used and has been used by all levels of government, communities, industry organisations and universities.

About Satlink

Founded in 1992 in Spain, Satlink is a world leading provider of technology solutions for the fisheries segment. Strongly committed to fisheries sustainability and ocean conservation, Satlink’s mission is to provide tools that can help fleets and governments to sustainably manage their activity in the best way possible. The technology company has pioneered a number of collaborative initiatives worldwide, bringing together the fishing industry, government agencies and NGOs to reduce the impacts of tuna fishing.

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