Pioneer fishing and aquaculture gear study extended to whole of UK

27 October 2021

A Resource Futures research study into waste gear generated from fishing and aquaculture sectors has been extended to cover all four UK nations.

Independent environmental consultancy Resource Futures will work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Marine Scotland, the Welsh Government and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to extend an existing research study for Defra into fishing and aquaculture gear use in England to a UK-wide context.

The extended study will improve understanding of how much gear is used and stored, how much waste is currently generated and managed, and the opportunities to improve waste management and reduce marine litter across the whole of the UK. The study will run until October 2021.

“Plastic pollution is a global problem. Tackling potential sources of marine litter is a key priority for the UK, and during our leadership of the G7 we reaffirmed our commitment to accelerate action through the G7 Action Plan to Combat Marine Litter and continue our support of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative.

“Improving our understanding of the use and disposal of fishing and aquaculture gear is vital so that we can minimise waste, promote resource efficiency and move towards a circular economy.

“We look forward to progressing this research, working closely with Resource Futures and the Devolved Administrations.”

Jo Churchill, Resources and Waste Minister, Defra

At the British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium in Glasgow in 2019, the four UK administrations made a commitment to working together and with industry to improve recycling of fishing gear.

Defra also committed to reviewing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for fishing gear in the 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy for England. EPR and other policy measures will be assessed in the research study, and cost and benefits will be estimated to help evaluate and compare different options.

“Working across the four UK nations, we will take a holistic and long-term view to potential solutions in this study. Whilst certain economies of scale can be achieved through collaboration across the UK, we must also accommodate the variation found in fisheries, gear use and drivers of waste management behaviour.

We look forward to working with the UK administrations to explore practicable solutions to this complicated issue.

George Cole, UK Policy Lead and Principal Consultant, Resource Futures

This study builds upon Resource Futures’ experience in the area, including an inventory of Scottish aquaculture gear and, most recently, an inventory of static fishing gear in Scotland.