“The Whale” is a Beach Guardian initiative… and collaborative project… a way to raise awareness of the issues of ghost gear in the oceans and on our beaches.

The Whale

Andrew Whittle is one of the winners from Netflix’s “Big Flower Fight” show; Many fans loved the unique and imaginative designs. Beach Guardian provided all of the marine plastics and ghost gear in Episode 6.  After the show, Andrew was commissioned by Kew Gardens to create a living sculpture of a humpback whale which was on display in their grounds during September.

Grace Emily Manning  is an exhibiting artist and Experimental Animator who has an intuitive response to nature, place and her work entwines environmental, political and cultural issues.

After the whale had spent it’s time at Kew Gardens the frame was relocated to Beach Guardian’s ‘Lab’; our poly tunnel at the back of Trevisker Garden Centre in Padstow. Andrew and Grace spent hundreds of hours working with volunteers and students from the local area to create a Humpback Whale made entirely from ghost gear found on Cornwall’s beaches; collected by Beach Guardian volunteers over recent years. This 8m whale is now on permanent display at Trevisker Garden Centre so do please pay it a visit.

This project has been supported by the family of Joanna Toole and by the Joanna Toole Foundation and we are very grateful for this opportunity. There will be a number of ongoing projects, films, workshops and publicity connected to “The Whale” which will happen during 2021.

Some Solutions

We also want to promote the work of organisations and businesses around the world as well as in Cornwall who are looking at the issues of ghost gear, how it can be reduced and avoided, how it can be collected and how it can be recycled and repurposed. Here are some of those organisations:

Global Ghost Gear Initiative

The Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) is the world’s largest cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost, abandoned and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) worldwide. The GGGI aims to improve the health and productivity of marine ecosystems, protect marine life, and safeguard human health and livelihoods. The GGGI currently brings together over 100 partners across the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.

Fishing For Litter

Fishing For Litter aims to reduce marine litter by involving one of the key stakeholders, the fishing industry. The project is designed to reduce the amount of marine litter in our seas by physically removing it and to highlight the importance of good waste management amongst the fleet. Participating vessels are given hardwearing bags to collect marine litter that is caught in their nets during their normal fishing activities. Filled bags are deposited in participating harbours on the quayside where they are moved by harbour staff to a dedicated skip or bin for disposal.

Odyssey Innovation

Odyssey Innovation was born from a passion to rid the seas of plastic pollution. In 2014 founder Rob Thompson established a volunteer group of divers to retrieve marine plastic and ghost gear.

In January 2018 he approached Palm Equipment, a UK based leading kayak manufacturer, with a recycled material suitable for roto moulding. Within a matter of days, the world’s first prototype marine plastic recycled kayak was produced. The kayaks are not just retailed but also used for their global Paddle for Plastic campaign to retrieve marine plastic and give back to the communities that support them through sponsorship.

Ocean Recovery Project

Recycling marine plastic from our oceans, fishing ports and beaches. Supporting community groups & other organisations throughout Devon & Cornwall to recycle marine plastic. A partnership between Keep Britain Tidy, South West Water and Exeter City Council. Empowering people on the front line fighting the tide of marine plastic pollution.
dedicated skip or bin for disposal.

Ghost Fishing UK

Established in 2015, Ghost Fishing UK is dedicated to removing Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) or ‘Ghost Gear’. The purpose is to remove, where practicable, potentially lethal entanglement hazards to marine life and scuba divers from the marine environment. The organisation consists of volunteer scuba divers, with extensive training in advanced diving practices specifically in relation to minimising impact on the environment.

Cornwall Good Seafood Guide

Cornish fishermen use a wide variety of different fishing methods and catch over 60 different species of fish throughout the year. There are many examples of direct improvements being made to capture methods in Cornwall that help make our fisheries some of the most sustainable in Europe.

Joanna Toole Foundation

To continue the global work of campaigner Joanna Toole in advancing the welfare of animals, in particular that of marine fauna. We achieve this through grants for practical action and training, for education on anthropogenic threats, and for scientific research. In 2014, World Animal Protection’s Sea Change team, co-led by Joanna Toole, established the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), a multi-stakeholder, public-private partnership committed to driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.


We’re building a community of individuals collectively looking to take positive action to protect the marine environment, in and out of the water. You’ll receive access to exclusive discounts and launches for our recycled ocean plastic gear, net recovery events and training, and opportunities to participate with our marine recycling programme.

Fathoms Free

We are a group of volunteer Conservationists who refuse to simply stand by and watch, whilst our seas turn into uninhabitable dumping grounds.  The global marine debris problem is one the greatest threats our planet has ever encountered. If the seas can no longer sustain life, neither can the planet. The problems posed by marine debris are as diverse as the techniques used to overcome them. Divers are in a unique position to assist in tackling this threat.

Fish & Click

🙏 Fish & Click is a public research programme aiming to collect data on abandoned, lost and discarded fishing equipment. All the sightings are important, whether at sea or on the shore.
🐟 The more information we can collect the better we can map the distribution of lost fishing gear and suggest solutions for its management.
💙 It’s now possible to record items like this using the Fish&Click App that’s been developed as part of the Indigo – Innovative Fishing Gear for Ocean project
📲 You can find out more and download the App here – https://fishandclick.ifremer.fr/

Find out how to get involved