Materials and design
Focus on producing nets with materials that do not get residuals and biological components attached (biofouling), in order to avoid fast degrading processes. Improve the technical characteristics of the biodegradable plastics efforts should focus on reducing the time needed to degrade them and to increase their resistance to harsh conditions Efforts should focus on improving the design of small/non-valuable/Single Use Plastic items. Focus the design of aquaculture facilities on creating stable and solid infrastructures to minimize losses and damages. All aquaculture gear should be designed to be as resistant as possible to harsh marine conditions and to be able to attach to other items to avoid loss or damage There is a need to adapt to the rough offshore conditions while making installations sea-proof and applying multi-use approaches. Longlines in offshore seaweed farms have to resist strong forces. In the past, these longlines did not resist these conditions and got (partly) detached. Using special ropes with a bit of stretch, similar to ropes used by the shipping sector can be a solution. Floats and buoys can be attached with specialised locks to avoid losses. The robustness of seaweed installations in offshore environments is very important. It should be constructed without the use of small loose parts and by welding all ends to prevent any loss. Extreme weather conditions demand extra precautionary measures related to the type and design of equipment used, the location of the farms and operational procedures. Internal trainings to improve the handling and fixing of materials is needed. Foster cooperation with universities doing material research including the impact of different materials on the environment. The biodegradation issues of bioplastic materials in a marine environment should be considered. If an item is a consumable or lost frequently, it must be biodegradable. Biodegradable means that it is made of natural materials, not containing plastic in any form. We must differentiate between consumables (single or short use materials) and durables (long use materials) and create guidelines and specifications for the two types of materials and equipment Material design must be different for e.g. high-performance items (longer re-use) or for high-risk items (short use, high risk of loss). Request technical studies during the licensing process to assure that installations are storm-proofed. Prefer onshore to offshore operations/preinstall the constructions onshore as much as possible to loose as little material at sea as possible. Cost-risk assessments related to easy-to-loose material containing plastic should be part of the normal, internal assessments of fisheries and aquaculture companies, similar to, e.g. EMAS criteria. Develop and implement contingency plans for extreme weather conditions, e.g. removal of vulnerable equipment. In seaweed farming, steel poles can be used that stand several metres deep in the seabed. Bio-based, biodegradable ropes could be used in mussel and seaweed integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (MTA) production systems. End-of-life gear of aquaculture farms is normally well-recyclable, ALDFG not due to a very low quality after having been in the water for a long time. Focus on efforts on ALDFG.