English versions of the articles
In Norway, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has carried out annual retrieval survey in the Atlantic and Barents Sea since the 1980s to catch lost fishing gear. The surveys is based on extensive information gathering of lost gears. Since 1983, the Directorate of Fisheries has picked up over 572 km of gillnets. Furthermore, Norway has cleaned up after abandoned facilities for shellfish farming. In the last two years, a pilot project for "Fishing for litter" has also been carried out, where fishing gear accounts for a significant part of the waste where the fishermen themselves fish during their own trips. Through annual beach cleaning surveys, thousands of voluntary Norwegians has gathered a large amount of gear and ropes along the entire Norwegian coast. Our own and foreign fishermen's gear contributes to a significant part of the coastal litter. In addition to all of the implemented cleanup measures, it is going to be implemented more preventative measures because the most important thing is to avoid littering in the first place. However, the cleanup must continue in order to minimize the environmental impact of lost gears and other plastic waste that will occur in the marine environment.
This year's Keep Norway Beautiful conference had a Nordic profile with Norwegian, Nordic and International speakers. There was broad consensus that regional cooperation and measures are crucial for meeting an ever-increasing global challenge with littering of the oceans. New surveys show that fishing gear or components from these make up a high proportion.
The EU Commission adopts a strategy on plastics, which will protect the environment from plastic pollution whilst fostering growth and innovation. The strategy is design to address the challenges posed by plastics throughout the value chain, taking into account the entire life cycle, and aims to contribute to a new plastics economy.
An estimated 10 million tonnes of plastic waste, including discarded fishing gear, ends up in landfills in Europe every year. An additional estimated 25 million tonnes of plastics are incinerated, which is not in line with a circular economy. Plastix is a Danish cleantech company transforming waste fishing nets and trawls into valuable green raw materials.
As of 2018, Norwegian authorities had decided to demand a specific escape vent in the pot fisheries towards lobster. The solution will ensure that lost pots on the seabed do not become eternal traps for shellfish and fish. Requirements on the new solution is the use of cotton wire with short breakdown time in parts of the pot. This will ensure an escape possibility for the caught fish and shellfish.
The EU-project Marelitt Baltic invited stakeholders and participants to a conference to share and obtain knowledge on the issue with lost fishing gear in the Baltic Sea. Presentations about efforts and methods on how to pick up lost fishing gear was a part of the conference.
Marine plastic pollution is an increasing global issue that affects coastal and marine ecosystems, which again have implications for our society and well-being. The Arctic is considered as a relatively pristine area, but today's level of plastic pollution in the region is higher than the environmental management targets. At the same time, we expect increased commercial activity in the area due to global warming and ice melting which will make parts of the Arctic more accessible. Svalbard- and the Barents Sea contribute to our welfare in many ways: among other things, it is an important area for fishing, research, tourism and nature experiences. To ensure sustainable development of the region, we need effective management tools to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.