Decisions Document Number
Long Title
Resolution on ghost gear entanglement among cetaceans

Acknowledging that the abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) is recognised as a major anthropogenic global problem that causes economic losses, environmental damage and harm to marine wildlife, including cetaceans;
Further acknowledging that bycatch in active fishing gear is the greatest immediate threat for cetaceans globally, and that the IWC is committed to addressing this issue through its Bycatch Mitigation Initiative;
Recognising that despite being extremely difficult to quantify, the amount of existing ALDFG is prevalent and likely to be increasing;
Further recognising that the mortality rates associated with ghost fishing gear are very difficult to quantify, especially transient ALDFG that follow the winds and geostrophic currents, making them difficult to track and find, and prolonged studies very challenging;
Aware that entanglement due to ALDFG is an increasingly significant threat to cetacean welfare, causing infection, starvation, drowning and even amputation of fins or tails and that it is an obstacle to the recovery of some endangered whale and dolphin populations;
Recalling the Global Whale Entanglement Response Network developed by the IWC that promotes capacity building of national leaders in disentanglement programmes of large whales for IWC Contracting Governments;
Noting the wide collaboration of the IWC with other international governmental conventions and organizations; and the active engagement of the Secretariat with the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO);
Further noting that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Committee on Fisheries endorsed Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear at its thirty-third session and further work to address ALDFG, including the development of a comprehensive global strategy to tackle issues relating to ALDFG;
Now, therefore the Commission:
Recognises the transboundary nature of the ALDFG problem and the importance of regional and international cooperation by IWC Contracting Governments and other International Organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Maritime Organization of the United Nations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to prevent and mitigate ALDFG, in addition to national- and local-level initiatives;
Encourages the IWC Secretariat in conjunction with Contracting Governments, other International Organizations and NGOs to continue to work constructively towards the development of best practices to avoid ALDFG, and consequently to reduce the entanglement of whales and dolphins in ghost fishing gear and to develop techniques to locate it and to clean up what is already accumulated in the ocean.
Directs the Conservation Committee and Scientific Committee to continue their work on ghost fishing gear and its impacts to cetaceans in its work, including assessing the risk of each gear’s propensity to become ALDFG and to pose a threat to harm cetaceans and which species or regions are most affected.
Urges Contracting Governments to report any relevant information on ghost gear in their voluntary conservation report.
Agrees to increase collaboration and co-operation with governmental, regional and other international organizations and NGOs, including cross-sectoral coalitions, such as the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, working on the development and implementation of best practices as well as the development of innovations to prevent and mitigate ALDFG.
Invites Parties to join the IWC Global Whale Entanglement Response Network to professionally train and form teams for entanglement responders.
Agrees that any provisions of this Resolution should not duplicate work of other organisations in this regard.