The ‘Battle Against Plastic Waste’ On World Oceans Day. Seafish shines a light on positive work to tackle marine litter and end-of-life fishing gear

Seafish in the United Kingdom has released a new film called ‘The Battle Against Plastic Waste’ on World Oceans Day 2020 dedicated to the subject of the impacts of marine litter.

The public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, developed the short film to give the seafood industry a clearer understanding of the challenges created by marine litter, including plastic and lost or discarded fishing gear. 

It also highlights the positive examples of the fishing industry working to tackle these issues. It is hoped that the film will inspire more innovation and knowledge sharing, leading to less discarded fishing gear in the world’s oceans.

Aoife Martin, Director of Operations at Seafish said: “While plastic is a useful material, we know that it can create problems for marine life when it ends up in our oceans. As the public body that supports the UK seafood industry, it is important that we recognise the part that end-of-life fishing gear contributes to the problem. Equally important though is to show how industry is committed to finding solutions to reduce its impact.

“We hope our short film will help highlight and promote discussion on this important topic. We are aware that seafood businesses have other priorities at the moment due to Covid-19. However World Oceans Day, with its focus on promoting ocean conservation and sustainability, is the perfect opportunity to release the film and to promote the good work that is happening across the seafood industry.”

This film was produced by Seafish in response to the 2019 EU Single-Use Plastics Directive. This legislation takes an ‘extended producer responsibility’ approach. This means  that manufacturers of fishing gear containing plastic will be required to cover the costs of waste collection, transport from ports and treatment, as well as measures to raise awareness.

Stuart McLanaghan, Head of Responsible Sourcing said: “The 2019 Single-Use Plastics Directive introduces rules to prevent and reduce the impact of certain plastic products and promote the move to a circular economy. Fishing gear is covered in the Directive, so the catching sector will be affected when extended producer responsibility schemes come into force.”

“To help uncover the potential implications, we needed to better understand the industry’s contribution. Last summer, we began work on a project to find out about how aware and prepared the industry is for this change. From this, we’ve published a series of case studies which highlight excellent examples of projects and companies working to tackle marine litter and manage end-of-life fishing gear in a more sustainable way.”

The case studies show how fishermen are playing an important role in cleaning up our seas by supporting projects like Fishing for Litter. Many of the projects featured are in South West England.

 These include Brixham Trawl Makers trialling ways to dismantle old gear, Odyssey Innovation working with harbours to collect old nets and making kayaks out of recycled materials, and Fishy Filaments recycling fishing nets into engineering grade filament for 3D printing. 

Outside the UK, international companies including Plastix and Aquafil are also recycling end-of-life fishing gear into new materials.

About Seafish

Seafish is here to give the UK seafood sector the support it needs to thrive.

We’re a non-departmental public body (NDPB) set up by the Fisheries Act 1981. Our sponsors are the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolved administrations.

Using our unique, non-competitive position, we work in partnership with businesses, Government and organisations to overcome challenges and seize opportunities.

Funded by a levy on the first sale of seafood in the UK, our work makes a huge difference. It keeps fishermen safe, supports sustainable sourcing, helps businesses work efficiently, and boosts the nation’s health. We tackle everything from research to campaigns, insights to training – whatever we can do to give our industry the support it needs.

Visit our website or follow us on Twitter @seafishUK and LinkedIn.

‘The Battle Against Plastic Waste’ film from Seafish World Oceans Day

by editor time to read: 8 min