Defra appoints Resource Futures to research gear use in fishing and aquaculture

13 January 2021

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has appointed independent environmental consultancy, Resource Futures, to conduct a research study into waste gear generated from fishing and aquaculture sectors in England.

The study will explore options for improving the management of waste fishing and aquaculture gear that has reached end of life. The research will look at the quantity of gear used and of waste gear generated, the type of gear used, its supply chain and material composition, as well as determine how old gear is stored, recycled, or disposed of.

An economic assessment comparing different waste management options will be included. The study will also deliver an analysis of policy options such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) on their ability to improve waste management outcomes and reduce the risk of marine litter.

Defra committed to reviewing and consulting on measures such as EPR for fishing gear in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy for England, to ensure fishing gear that is no longer fit-for-purpose is disposed of correctly and prevented from polluting the ocean.

Through the British-Irish Council, Defra has also committed to working with other administrations, and with industry, to develop solutions for the collection and recycling of end-of-life fishing gear.

“Tackling potential sources of marine litter is a priority for the UK Government. This research will be instrumental in building a strong evidence base of the current market for fishing gear and will inform work on possible waste management measures to facilitate the correct disposal of fishing gear.”

A spokesperson from Defra

“We are pleased to support Defra in its commitments to fishing gear management, and to be adding to our growing body of work and experience in fishing and aquaculture.

“Over the next few months, we will speak with individuals who work at ports and aquaculture farms, and we look forward to consulting with numerous stakeholders from gear manufacturers, the marine industry, and waste management industry.”

George Cole, Senior Consultant, Resource Futures

Running until June 2021, the study will fill an important data gap for fishing and aquaculture. It will also provide the evidence base for evaluating potential schemes to support waste management for these sectors.

In delivering the study, Resource Futures will work alongside subcontractors Howard Walker and Mike Montgomerie, to combine specialisms of marine litter, the marine industry, and economics.

Resource Futures’ work in the areas of fishing and aquaculture includes an inventory of Scottish aquaculture gear which is currently being conducted for Marine Scotland and the Scottish Government.