UK frozen food giant Young's Seafood is partnering with retailer Sainsbury's, Herriot-Watt University and the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to fund a doctorate studying the effects of ghost fishing gear and solutions to its challenges.

"Being a non-vertically integrated company, it's a challenge for Young's to demonstrate the direct impact of water change in relation to the control of fishing gear practices," Young's Communications Manager Nicholas Donnelly told IntraFish.

The three-and-a-half year PhD program at Herriott-Watt University, which is located in Edinburgh, Scotland, will review the effects of ghost gear on marine animals and their habitats, and will evaluate the effectiveness of interventions.

Young's partook in the project to fill in the current knowledge gaps and refine publicly available tools for the entire industry.

"The resources will be shared within our and other supply chains to ensure the catching sector has the best possible information to make informed decisions about the management of fish gear," Donnelly said.

Young's and Sainsbury's both recognize the ghost fishing gear challenge but were contacted independently, the communications manager said.

Young's Seafood Marine Biologist Cameron Moffat will likely work with the doctorate program by introducing supply chain partners to help in data collection. However, this is still being defined according to how the project fleshes out, Donnelly said.

What is ghost fishing gear?

  • Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear
  • It is four times more likely to impact marine life through entanglement than all other forms of marine debris, according to the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) annual report