More than 11,000 tonnes of fishing gear discarded at sea in the EU every year
The European Commission is committed to tackling the growing problem of marine litter, focusing on the 11,000 tonnes of fishing gear lost or dumped at sea in the EU every year.
As part of overall targets to reduce single-use plastics, the EU executive said it was proposing new measures on reporting lost fishing gear and retrieving it.
Member states, such as Ireland, are now required under the 2019 rules to ensure that certain single-use plastic products are no longer placed on the EU market, namely when durable products can be used instead.
These include cotton swabs, cutlery, plates, straws, stirrers, balloon sticks, as well as some expanded polystyrene products such as cups and food and drink containers, the agency said. Commission.
Fishing gear, as well as single-use plastic bags, bottles, packets and wraps, tobacco filters, hygienic items and wet wipes, are treated differently.
Limiting their use, reducing consumption and preventing waste through labeling requirements are measures taken for this category.
Under the new rules, from next year member states will be required to report fishing gear containing plastic placed on the market and fishing gear collected at sea.
The aim is to incentivize bringing all fishing gear ashore and improving its handling there, the Commission said.
Member States like Ireland will have other obligations. Countries with marine waters will have to set a national minimum annual collection rate for waste fishing gear containing plastic for recycling by the end of 2024.
According to a 2018 EU impact assessment, abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear accounts for 27% of litter on beaches, and a significant proportion of fishing gear placed on the market is not collected for disposal. treated.
Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “The negative impacts of plastic waste on the environment, on the oceans and marine life, and on our health are global and drastic.
“The rules to reduce plastic pollution are ambitious and respond to citizens’ calls for decisive action, making the EU a forerunner in the global fight against marine litter.”
Ghost fishing describes abandoned fishing gear that still catches life, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“Ghost fishing gear is the deadliest form of marine plastic because it indiscriminately catches wildlife, entangles marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles and sharks, subjecting them to a slow and painful from exhaustion and suffocation,” says the WWF.