Responsibility Measures

Farmer/user responsibility Farmer/user responsibility

Company's policy should install an integrated management on the reduction of plastic waste (incl. KPIs for implementation), e.g. banning of single use plastics, use of recycled plastic items. So far, in many Baltic Sea aquaculture companies, only a decommissioning plan exists but no waste management plan. The loss of gear and other material at sea remains therefore mainly undiscovered. Put in place various contractual agreements with external contractors to collect used or damaged goods (cardboards and equipment) to be recycled or upgraded. Smaller companies can pay a fee to larger companies to monitor the whole area (area agreements). Avoid, as far as possible, bringing items into open sea facilities that can potentially turn into garbage, such as plastic feed bags, which can be substituted by heavier containers that cannot fly away so easily. Facilitate the collection of small gear items when they are being removed by bringing containers to the facilities. Purchase very resistant material to harsh conditions. Create surveillance plans which include checking the state of the aquaculture facilities regularly, with the objective to prevent potential gear losses and damages. Create pre-scheduled surveillance plans to obtain information on the life cycle, durability and resistance, etc of the gear and the items used. These plans can be the basis of the farmers’ customized traceability systems. Good practices regarding the waste prevention should be mandatory (no alternative accepted) and they should become another part of the daily work flow. Enlarge the life-cycle of the nets by following a regular maintenance scheme including washing, disinfection, repairing and applying anti-fouling treatments, among others. Promote the local repair and reuse of nets Apply penalties to the companies that do not put in place prevention measures Apply penalties to the companies that do not put in place prevention measures Include also material lost data in the report on sustainability. Some aquaculture companies develop sustainability reports which are usually based on the evaluation of their performance on environmental (and social) indicators. But lost material information is not frequently included. Include an indicator of collection of marine litter around the farm on the report on sustainability. Implement the use of material tracking systems to trace e.g. buoys, etc. Fill in a logbook, keeping track of the bought items, installed and/or used items, the major events happened and any gear loss or break. Make every farmer responsible, as far as possible and considering the recycling and removal schemes in place and in development, for the management and the treatment of their own litter. Create a control system of the aquaculture nets that have reached the end-of-life. The control system should be as simple as possible and based on the idea of returning the old nets to buy new ones. Cost-risk assessments related to easy-to-lose materials containing plastic should be part of the normal, internal assessments of companies, similar to the health-risk assessments or others Develop and implement contingency plans for extreme weather conditions, e.g. removal of vulnerable equipment. Farm locations should be sheltered from storms in a natural way or by artificial dykes, embankments, etc. In seaweed farming, steel poles can be used that stand several metres deep in the seabed Farmers should use certified materials that are appropriately strong and well-functioning. Use alternative natural materials instead of plastic wherever possible Internal performance indicators should be established to assess a) which type of uses and b) how long you need a specific item/material. This will give farmers the direct hint what material has to be ordered and could be re-defined and replaced easily after the material does no meet the expectations. Alternative materials for mussel socks have been used in several places Mussel larvae collector lines are held afloat by buoys and other floats that are made of plastic. These floats often come loose and then wash up on the beaches. In the Netherlands, they now replace them with long tubes of rubber plastic that stay afloat. In terms of material, this solution does not solve the problem but there is no longer any loss of the floats. Small twines from pure cotton of 1.1mm thickness are used for the delivery of small seedlings of seaweed. They can be lost when unpacking and attaching to bigger ropes. That is why farmers choose cotton as the loss of small twines is common. Demarcation materials of mussel plots: mussel farmers in the Netherlands often use non-biodegradable materials for this purpose, which may disappear with storms. The Dutch sector is looking at the possibilities of working with biodegradable materials to attach to the poles. In the Shetlands, mussel farmers use continuous lines or loops instead of mussel pegs (plastic stoppers) Following the idea of EPR, also the users (mainly the farmers and their staff) should be liable for losing especially the little items as this is foreseeable. The measures and related incentives have to be extended to group-specific obligations and measures (on a voluntary basis, with a code of conduct, with new legislation etc.). Companies can implement improved awareness with own guidelines in relation to national legislation. All staff members of an aquaculture farm should learn the appropriate procedures in place to carefully clean up, making sure nothing is lost. Awareness and good attitude play a big role here, if workers are aware of the problem, they would be much more careful and conscious in not littering. The aquaculture farmer should set up an inventory, if not done already, of all installed and acquired equipment during the life cycle of a farm. This way, the number of items that are replaced or got lost can be tracked more easily. Currently, monitoring takes place after a storm. A monitoring-scheme (e.g. every 40 days) should be established in order to get standardized results. For seaweed industries, the LCA is estimated to be around 5-10 years. Considering this frame, the monitoring schedule should be created and adapted, and the necessity to remove and renew all the old structures should be planned before they are too old and, therefore, more fragile in case of storm/accident. Tagging lost items can help to track them. This is usually done with buoys and with essential structures (e.g. long floating pipes). This approach should be open for crossborder collaboration to enable an easy exchange of gear waste between countries, also related to joint recycling plants to increase the amount of waste. The farmers should make an inventory of all aquaculture equipment that has been installed to easily track what gear might be lost. Encourage the reuse of aquaculture materials Encourage farmers to set short, medium objectives to help them reach “Zero waste” goal. Farmer responsibility: add serial number on materials (e.g. on mussel cones). Implement structural changes to allow reuse of aquaculture materials In parallel to producers, also liability can put on the users of aquaculture products when loosing especially little items. Mark gear to track it back to the owner. Authorities can better enforce penalties for intentionally dumping aquaculture gear and nets into the sea. It also creates an opportunity to return gear that was accidentally lost to the owner for reuse and increases the visibility of gear. Coloured gear like ropes becomes mandatory to help trace the region, the species cultured (or fished) and the local aquaculture site. Tracking can foster the retrieval of high-valued equipment like floating buoys or PE nets using a GPS with satellite (alarm). Tagging lost items can help to track them. This is usually done with buoys and with essential structures (e.g. long floating pipes). This approach should be open for crossborder collaboration to enable an easy exchange of gear waste between countries, also related to joint recycling plants to increase the amount of waste. Use of transponders in coastal aquaculture farms or by small-scale farms. In many aqucaculture facilities their wider adoption would provide an additional method of location to reduce gear loss through misplacement at minimal additional cost. Mark and connect easily lost items to the owner: a) Add a telephone number of the responible municipality b) Mark buoys with the telephone number of the owner c) Add a phone number to call at all beaches that people can bring back the items to farmers or a municipal collection site.