Norwegian fishing vessels no longer able to land marine litter without charges as the Environment Agency closes the scheme. Photo: Fishing for Litter 2017

Norwegian fishing vessels no longer able to land marine litter without charges as the Environment Agency closes the scheme. Photo: Fishing for Litter 2017

Hundreds of vessels along the Norwegian coast will no longer be able to land their rubbish for free in a change of legislation by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Previously, fishing vessels could avail of a scheme under Fishing for Litter, where any marine rubbish they brought ashore was taken from them for free and disposed of correctly or sent for recycling.

Now Norwegian boats have been told the scheme is closed, and they will have to pay for the disposal of such rubbish.

The Fishing for Litter scheme in Norway was recently called a success with more than 734 tonnes of marine rubbish being collected since the schemes start up until December 2020.

But now the Norwegian Environment Agency will abolish the scheme and instead introduce stricter requirements for ports to improve the handling of waste from ships and fishing vessels. It is common for ships to sort their waste on board, but as of today there is no requirement for ports to accept sorted fractions of waste. The Norwegian Environment Agency and the Norwegian Maritime Directorate recommend that requirements be introduced for the ports to make arrangements to receive sorted waste from the ships, writes the Norwegian Environment Agency.

“Fishing vessels come ashore with both their own waste and waste they fish up from the sea. In order for the fishing vessels to have increased access to deliver depleted waste, we recommend that all ports with calls for fishing vessels should also be able to handle depleted waste,” writes the Agency.

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“Requirements for the ports that they must receive sorted waste and fished-up waste will reduce marine litter and contribute to increased reuse and material recycling. This will make shipping greener and more circular,” says Ellen Hambro.

On the recommended fee for disposing off the rubbish Hambro continues, “The additional costs for delivering sorted waste from the ships, we recommend that be financed through the general waste fee, which ports already have for waste from ships. We recommend that fishing vessels are also covered by the general waste fee scheme. Such financing means that the financial burden is evenly distributed because the ships and fishing vessels must pay the fee regardless of whether they deliver waste or not. The fee will, among other things, vary depending on the boat size.”

One of the reasons why they want to phase out the scheme with Fishing for Litter is that it is expensive to manage, even though they believe it has been a success in the 11 ports it is available. 

Hilde Rødås Johnsen in Salt Lofoten is the project leader for Fishing for litter. She points out that the fishing industry has demanded more delivery points in several ports. “We can roll out on a larger scale as part of a national system, if desired,” she emphasises.

Sources: Various

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Norwegian Environment Agency closes down free marine litter collection service

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