Legislation Measures

Regulations Regulations

Legal obligations to use a certain share of reusable aquaculture gear items (reuse quota) force sellers of SUP items like plastic cords to comply with requirements or be sanctioned. Quota could be graduated over time, i.e. progressively designed to increase at certain intervals, thus further driving single-use containers out of market relevance. Technically, gear must be thoroughly washed to comply with national antifouling regulations and must be separated/sorted manually, which is time-intensive. Therefore, some countries like Germany have outsourced the sorting of fishing gear to countries with lower labour costs. In a mid- to long-term perspective, it seems to be more efficient, cost effective and climate friendly, to support national recycling companies in adding or specialising on recycling nets. EPR measures could support the development of local or regional recycling/reuse schemes to require better data collection on fishing net waste handling and to implement national marine recycling targets. EPR under the SUPD could lead to stronger ambitions of producers to use less mixed-plastic material to facilitate the recycling process. EPR measures should foresee the upgrading of waste handling facilities, especially in the small fishing ports that many vessels use. Extend the scope of the EPR provisions under the SUPD for clean-ups of fishing gear by national legislation. Avoid through regulation that producers who have to pay for EPR are avoiding to invest into improved materials. Introduce a national deposit system with subsequent, mandatory recycling of those nets and gear, which are not too dirty, whereas non-recyclable parts have to be incinerated. A deposit system would be an additional incentive to collect gear separately. Not only for farmers (e.g. to bring back old used aquaculture gear), but also for suppliers to bring back e.g. big bags. A deposit system can work very effectively for larger items, whereas small items that are lost very frequently (because these are light, cheap and their retrieval is considered to be a waste of time) should be replaced by alternatives and, in case this is not possible, their use should be closely linked to awareness-raising and training of the e.g. staff responsible for installation. The deposit system could be a graduated system for single or multi-use. It ensures the return of a high percentage of unmixed material. For passive aquaculture/fishing gear like cages, boxes, cords of regional production a national deposit system with all its modifications (single-use, re-use, multi-use) seems feasible. Under certain conditions also imported aquaculture gear can be integrated. Fish cages or transport boxes are often adapted to own needs by farmers and could be included in a multi-use system. Similar to a national deposit system also an implementation of regional and municipal deposit systems are thinkable, which can be adjusted according to the individual needs of the aquaculture sector and producers. Ban of harmful material, like easy to lose SUP items and Styrofoam containers. Items which are not automatically linked to the aquaculture sector but used in some aquaculture types like the bottom culture (plastic sacks, tyres) have to be forbidden as such or replaced by alternative materials (e.g. cotton). According to the new SUPD, also some SUP items can be prohibited, which has to be implemented by each country. HELCOM as regional sea body could support such approaches by defining recommendations. Apply penalties to the companies producing gear and other items used in the aquaculture sector that do not put in place prevention measures. Apart from direct bans and regulations, municipalities could also create a contract between the community and local aquaculture farmers to commit them to bring every item back to shore and to make sure that the farmers are aware that dumping is prohibited. In Spain, include the identification of potential sources of waste and the estimation of non-organic marine litter related to an aquaculture facility in the Environmental Surveillance Plans (PVAs due to the Spanish abbreviation) Establish public official reference values in relation to the potential waste generated by the aquaculture sector, exclusive of each type of aquaculture main activities. This kind of litter-frame would help to build trust among the multiple aquaculture stakeholders involved in the non-organic marine litter management The results of the analysis of the technical characteristics of suitable material for aquaculture gear and life-cycle steps should be incorporated in environmental aquaculture regulation and gear made following these recommendations should be included as a certified good practice. Any breakthrough related to eco or sustainable designs should be integrated in the aquaculture regulation. Share the information related with the main needs and priorities in relation to non-organic litter prevention and reduction in the aquaculture sector with the gear producers, material producers and the policy makers, with the aim to create a set of rules that would apply to the gear design and material selection, to ensure resistance and durability in a regulation framework. In Spain, create a specific Spanish Single Use Plastic regulation and Extended Producer Responsibility scheme regulation for fisheries and aquaculture Involvement of the policy makers environmental authorities in the identification of areas for the development of the aquaculture, to guarantee the harmonious integration of the aquaculture facilities in the coastal zones, minimize land-use conflicts and reduce the potential impacts. Raise taxes on non-sustainable (like plastic) materials but not on alternative materials to create a clear benefit in using the sustainable gear. This solution can only be adopted once there are real alternatives to the non-sustainable materials. Expand the current environmental objectives of the Marine Strategies to include the criteria of monitoring marine litter (related to descriptor 10 - MSFD) in the Compatibility Reports. Add monitoring marine litter as criteria in all the Environmental Surveillance Plans related to any kind of aquaculture activity. Simplify the proposed Environmental Surveillance Plans guidelines for farms smaller than 500 t. Oblige, by law, to tag the aquaculture nets and other big gear like buoys, so that they can be traced. Perform inspections to enforce regulations and deny concession renewals if removal and recycling criteria are not met. Oblige farmers to fill in a logbook, keeping track of the bought items, installed and/or used items, major events happening and any gear loss or damage. Logbooks can help to generate information on the lifecycle of the larger gears like nets, the duration of their use, details on possible repairs, washes or treatments with anti-fouling products, etc. This information can also help to enlarge the lifecycle of the gear. Apply financial fines to the farming companies that do not follow the EPR rules and do not discard properly the gear that has reached the end-of-life. These fines could include direct economic sanctions or disengagement from European funding, for example. Provide financial incentives to the companies that have a higher proportion of gear (e.g. nets) recycling and reusing. This could only be possible if the traceability system (including manufacturer and farmers tagging) works properly. Include controls on marine waste generation in aquaculture farms during audits. Audits must have a waste control protocol including valid indicators to assess the removal and recycling efficiency of the facility. Tracking systems may also pose pressure on non-EU countries to produce higher quality gear with a better durability, which indirectly supports the EPR schemes. Governing bodies should compel producers of aquaculture gear to use more alternative materials. This can be done both by introducing incentives and by strict regulations Working with a ‘fee’ or ‘discount’ is a better system to retrieve especially the big items used at sea and prevent their loss. This is preferred over a cost increase. A trusting relationship between producer and consumer/farmer is important. Taxes on small and cheap disposable plastic gear items would make them more expensive for farmers who would not be able to afford to lose them. The farmers would be worried enough to keep and recover them as much as possible. All companies could pay a fee to the national government, and the money could be used to remove the small litter items in the sea. However, if this measure is taken up for the aquaculture sector, it should also be introduced in other offshore sectors (tourism, shipping…). Taxes and incentives mainly benefit the big players. Instead, the entire sector (depending on the aquaculture type) should work together towards having more sustainable equipment accessible. Taxation is probably not a good idea, unless the tax money collected is used to invest in the aquaculture sector. Shaping taxes to stimulate innovation would be a better way, with the focus on obtaining new materials/gear and reducing the price of sustainable materials. A decommissioning plan for aquaculture infrastructure should be developed (e.g. as included in the fisheries policy). This will probably be implemented through the upcoming transnational or national ‘plastic’ plans/guidelines/legislation. This way, end-of-life or outdated aquaculture infrastructure could be decommissioned with national or EU aid. It should be possible during the operational phase of an aquaculture farm that the licensing authority adjusts certain requirements for an aquaculture installation Improvements to the installation during the operational phase may be compulsory if new experiences are gained since setting up the farm. This should be explicitely mentioned in all aquaculture permits. Logistics and decommission services should be done by an external company. This ensures uniformity and, incidentally, supports all companies within the sector. Regulating waste management should be much stricter. Everything needs to be declared when concerning chemical and dangerous waste, but this is not (yet) the case for other waste such as plastics. The equipment inventory of all aquaculture companies should be integrated and made public by local authorities. The waste policy (collection and depositing) on concessions should be improved, clarified and specified and a better follow-up should be granted. Lost or abandoned items should be reported to the appropriate authorities. There is only a decommissioning plan but no waste management plan in aquaculture in several countries. A waste management plan would reduce the loss of gear and other material at sea. Include criteria in Corporate Social Responsibility of aquaculture businesses. A Mass-balance system in which the farmers are paying for what they leave offshore, and/or are rewarded for additional litter they bring on land is an initiative needed from the government. A Deposit system (based on fees or discounts) as an additional incentive to collect gear separately is needed. Not only for farmers (e.g. to bring back old used aquaculture gear), but also for suppliers to bring back e.g. big bags. However, additional extensive administrative burden has to be avoided. The government should pay a more active role in motivationg and incentivising farmers to sort waste Active work from authorities is needed to manage waste. The waste problem is under-estimated by the government, who should put more effort in managing the waste.