New ‘ghost gear’ award created in honour of British Ethiopian airlines crash victim

Joanna Toole
Environmental campaigner Joanna Toole, 36, was a passenger on the doomed Ethiopian Airlines flight. Photo: Facebook

An award for those who help reduce the amount of plastic fishing gear left in the world’s oceans has been created in honour of a 36-year-old  British woman who was among the casualties of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

Officially launched on World Oceans Day (June 8), the Joanna Toole annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award will be presented to the most deserving project submitted to World Animal Protection to tackle one of the biggest threats to animals in the sea- abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear.

In 2014, World Animal Protection’s Sea Change team, which was co-led by Joanna, established the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) to drive solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide, and her father Adrian believes the award will continue her legacy of trying to help preserve the world’s ocean life.

Entries for this new award will be reviewed by ghost gear experts from both the GGGI and the World Animal Protection and the recipient will awarded at least $40,000.

Joanna Toole
Ms Toole’s father has said his daughter was a “very soft and loving” woman. Photo: Facebook

Every year, a reported 640,000 tons of ghost gear, the equivalent of more than one ton every minute, is discarded in the world’s oceans.

Jo was en route to Nairobi to lead a panel discussing possible solutions to the issue when the plane she was travelling in crashed near Bishoftu in Ethiopia just six minutes after take off, killing all 157 on board.

For more information, or to apply for The Joanna Toole annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award, please visit the World Animal Protection website.

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