In December 2012 the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) hosted Untangled, the first global symposium dedicated to identifying the major animal welfare problems caused by marine litter (also known as marine debris) and exploring animal-focussed solutions.
From 4-6 December, WSPA was joined in Miami by over 60 experts and interested parties from 20 countries, including participants from governments, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs, academia, and the fishing and plastics industries.
The symposium was supported and endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and at an evening reception delegates received a fascinating video tour of the underwater world led by guest speaker Holly Lohuis, a director of Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society.
This unique meeting enabled expert discussion about delivering viable and inspiring animal-focussed solutions for:
- reducing the volume of marine litter entering the oceans
- removing the dangerous litter that is already there
- rescuing animals who are already entangled in it.
Solutions particularly focussed on the two main types of marine litter that frequently cause animal suffering: abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear and consumer waste (including packaging materials).
All participants received a copy of a specially commissioned WSPA report: Untangled – Marine debris: A global picture of the impact on animal welfare and of animal focussed solutions, which pulls together existing literature on the impact of marine litter on animal welfare.
The Untangled Symposium Proceedings include a summary of the symposium and top level conclusions; an overview of sessions; an outline of workshop outcomes and discussions; and speakers’ abstracts.