New ‘ghost gear’ award created in honour of Exmouth’s Joanna

PUBLISHED: 11:06 10 June 2019

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole


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 an Exmouth woman.

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

The Joanna Toole annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award was officially launched on World Oceans Day (Saturday, June 8) in tribute to the 36-year-old who died in the Ethiopia Airlines crash.

On March 10, this year, the plane was en route to Kenya, where Jo was set to head a panel discussing possible solutions to the problem of derelict fishing equipment in the sea, when it crashed near Bishoftu, six minutes after take off, killing all 157 people on board.

READ MORE: Exmouth woman among 157 confirmed dead after Ethiopian Airlines jet crashes shortly after take-off

The award will be given to the most deserving project submitted to World Animal Protection to tackle abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear - one of the biggest threats to animals in the sea.

Joanna Toole campaigning. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole campaigning. Picture: Adrian Toole

Joanna's father Adrian said the award will continue her legacy of trying to help preserve the world's ocean life.

He said: "Joanna's work to protect our oceans and the life within them was not a job - it was her life.

"Since she was a little girl she knew that when she grew up she wanted a job where she could help animals - at World Animal Protection, Ocean Care and at the United Nations she was doing that every day.

"Our family is so proud that Jo lived her dream and we know the award will continue her legacy to make a positive difference for our oceans she worked so hard to protect."

Joanna Toole. Picture: Adrian TooleJoanna Toole. Picture: Adrian Toole

In 2014, World Animal Protection's Sea Change team, co-led by Joanna, established the Global Ghost gear Initiative (GGGI) to drive solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear worldwide.

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.

According to the animal welfare organisation, 640,000 tons of ghost gear is left in the world's oceans every year which equates to more than one ton every minute.

For more information, or to apply for The Joanna Toole annual Ghost Gear Solutions Award, go to

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