Joel is the acting Deputy Director for the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), a collective impact alliance started by World Animal Protection in 2015 and currently managed by Ocean Conservancy. The GGGI brings together NGOs, fishing industry, private sector, academia and governments to build evidence, define best practice and inform policy, and catalyse and replicate sustainable solutions to the problem of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG or “ghost gear”) worldwide. The GGGI currently has 98 unique member organizations and is supported by 14 governments and 6 high level affiliates, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (UNFAO), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the OSPAR Commission, and the European Commission Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (EC DG MARE).
Joel has made appearances and spoken at numerous international conferences and events including the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (Bergen, Norway); BC Ghost Gear Regional Workshop (Richmond, British Columbia); Harbour Authority Association of BC Annual Meeting (Ucluelet, British Columbia; Vancouver, British Columbia); Global Ghost Gear Initiative Annual Meeting (Bali, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand; Miami, Florida; London, UK); Klosters Forum (Klosters, Switzerland); the Circular Ocean Innovation Competition (remote judge); Cordage Institute Annual Meeting (San Diego, USA); Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism Annual Meeting (Little Bay, Montserrat); SeaWeb Seafood Sustainability Summit (Bangkok, Thailand; Seattle, Washington); the Coast Waste Management Association Annual Meeting (Victoria, British Columbia); and the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Vancouver, British Columbia).
Prior to taking on the role of GGGI Deputy Director, Joel worked for 20 years in the Canadian fishing industry, 13 of which were as Operations Supervisor for Steveston Harbour Authority, Canada’s largest commercial fishing harbour. During his time at Steveston Harbour, Joel started an end of life net recycling program to find a sustainable way to dispose of end of life fishing nets. In 3 years, this program managed to recycle some 150,000 kg of end of life nets.
Joel is also a recipient of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans Prix d’Excellence (2016) and a 2017 Canada’s Clean50 Honouree in relation to his net recycling work. He is also a past co-Chair for the City of Richmond’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, and a past President of the Harbour Authority Association of British Columbia.