Support for monitoring
Integrate monitoring schemes into the management plans of the farms and evaluate them on a regular basis. Install an inventory of all equipment during the life cycle of a farm. It should start with the durable materials like buoys, nets and bags, followed by non-durables. Based on an inventory of the aquaculture gear on a farm, the life spam of the items should be monitored and communicated with producers. Licenses should be renewed only, if integrated monitoring schemes are in place. Integrated monitoring schemes can foster transparency and data about losses of items could be published regularly. This could improve the image of the sector in the public. Offer incentives to those farmers who comply with monitoring efforts. Install a network of drone users or become a part of existing networks to foster the use of drones to better detect plastic patches. Include flexible research and/or investigative monitoring to increase knowledge of specific impacts. Increase the use of new technologies (e.g. remote sensing, FerryBoxes, gliders) and methodologies (e.g. techniques to find microplastics) by better linking monitoring with research. Increase the frequence of data collection: monitoring should not only take place afte a storm but shift towards short-term monitoring, e.g. every 2nd month to get standardized results Monitoring programmes should be targeted and follow defined categories of size, material and durability of the (gear) items; plastic is a priority (e.g. polyethylene). Improve compatibility of datasets among countries or regions (for example, through the standardization of sampling methods and quality assurance of the data) and translating research activities into monitoring (e.g. for litter and noise). Maintain and/or develop a limited number of long-term (fixed-point) monitoring sites to monitor changes in accumulated marine litter on specific spots close to aquaculture farm installations. Foster more integrated cross-disciplinary approaches, e.g. through more coordinated monitoring across sectors. Secure funding of long-term monitoring programmes. Make better use of low-cost platforms. Improve the monitoring schemes for floating and seafloor marine litter. Standardization of the methodology, the measurement units and the categories of the filling form should be implemented at European level. Monitor the seabed using specific technology (underwater drones, robots) Timely and efficient communication on new offshore installations to all seafarers is very important to avoid destruction of aquaculture installations by ships sailing in restricted aquaculture zones. Incidents at sea involving accidental losses of aquaculture gear and infrastructure should be reported to the coastguard and the managing authority responsible for approving the aquaculture farm. The licensing authority may discuss with the aquaculture farmer possible solutions for specific cases or the licensing authority may request the aquaculture farmer to come up with a solution within a set deadline. This procedure should be included in the aquaculture permit. By enforcing an incentive, people can be motivated to bring the found items to the central European body which collects waste or directly to the owner. An international registration and funding system could be set up to report the waste found at a European level. An easy access online platform should give people information on the collected items (i.e. QR-code, number, etc.). Collaborations between companies could facilitate the monitoring and managing of the general waste and lost items. This can be collaboration between small and/or large aquaculture companies, as well as with other offshore sectors. Through collaborations between companies, monitoring costs can be shared and a feasible monitoring schedule or program can be set up for offshore facilities. Smaller companies can pay a fee to the larger companies to monitor the whole area (area agreements). Trackers in/on equipment and gear is a good solution, not only for monitoring aquaculture installations but also for preventing material to get lost and facilitate the removal of lost items at sea.