First ‘Project ReCon’ Ghost Gear Captured

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 Carpentaria 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.

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