The recent adoption of the Single-Use Plastics Directive has wide ranging impacts for lifecycle of fishing gear, component and nets (FNCRs). EU Member States will now be responsible for implementing national extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes for end of life plastic fishing equipment over the next two years. This responsibility could range from transportation of end-of-life gear from ports, ensuring appropriate disposal through to awareness campaigns. This follows a similar precedent set in the waste electronics and used packaging sectors.
The impact of these changes was the central focus of the Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear ALDFG Workshop in Brussels on 2nd July where Professor Martin Charter and Dina Aspen participated in the multi-stakeholder session on behalf of the Blue Circular Economy project. The event was organized by World Animal Protection, Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the European Commission and featured representatives from the fishing industry, policy makers, Member-States, academia and NGOs.
Over the course of the day the expert group discussed best practice and options on how to implement the changes foreseen in the Single-use Plastics Directive. The event included stakeholder presentations and roundtable discussions to identify opportunities in implementation of the Directive and creating a sustainable circular economy for fishing gear.
Commenting on behalf of the Blue Circular Economy project Dina Margrethe Aspen said “BCE aims to assist SMEs offering products and services within fishing gear recycling in attaining a greater market reach. These companies are an important part of the ecosystem to help establish producer responsibility schemes in the future through offering logistic services, recycling technologies and new products based on polymers from waste fishing gears. We look forward to continue laying the ground for improved fishing gear recycling.”