Knowledge Measures

Research and Innovation Research and Innovation

Organise clean-up activities for companies and communities. Raise awareness and invest in education and training activities. Make aquaculture stakeholders feel they are part of the solution and not part of the problem, e.g. by organising clean-up events. Forward the database to manufacturers who produce plastic items for aquaculture to give them the chance to improve their products and to e.g. offer a certification to add value to the companies' products. Support (also financially) the development of innovative technological to retrieve gear more efficiently. Carry out a complete analysis of the technical characteristics of suitable material for aquaculture gear (flexibility, resistance to harsh conditions, corrosion resistant, among others) and life-cycle steps (from production to end-of-life treatment). The analysis of the technical characteristics of suitable material for aquaculture gear and life-cycle steps should result in recommendations on types of materials or mixtures of materials needed to produce the most frequent aquaculture items. Perform a rigorous analysis regarding the marine litter that is generated by the aquaculture sector. Develop research programmes on quantification and type of litter coming from the aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean Sea and increase general awareness. Include topics on monitoring of marine litter in the curricula of aquaculture professionals (universities or research centres) and carry out workshops/awareness activities. Increase efforts on innovation for automated seafloor waste collection systems. If offshore cultivation can be replaced by nearshore production, this would be beneficial to reduce the impact of the harsh offshore environment that can cause accidental losses. If offshore cultivation is needed for bigger production, as is the case for Belgium, a long-term vision for offshore aquaculture is needed specifying the infrastructure that is resistant to this environment and a handling scheme Tracking can be a solution to retrieve high-valued equipment like e.g. floating buoys using a GPS with satellite (alarm). A knowledge sharing platform for researchers studying the forces at sea or/and alternative materials resistant to these forces would be beneficial to the aquaculture farmers to aid the initiation, development and operation of the farms. Long-lasting reusable items that are not lost at sea may still generate microplastics deriving from these items. It would be interesting to cooperate with projects investigating new e.g. composite materials for offshore use. Cooperatives can also organise training sessions for offshore sectors. Organising awareness raising workshops may work depending on who is participating. When researchers, consumers, producers and farmers share experiences, this may increase the understanding of the position of every stakeholder. The combination of education with action is the best approach to make things happen. The aim of the training should be to outline how action can be taken (possibly in a step-by-step approach). Aerial monitoring could be a valuable alternative/ additional to monitoring by ships A GPS-system can be used to follow the infrastructure’s active location with satellite. This can be useful when the whole construction breaks loose after a storm. Further challenging the development of innovative technological devices may help to retrieve gear more efficiently Perhaps it is necessary to improve the tracking system in order to trace the material back to its owner. Remote sensing and computer driven image analysis can be used to identify big patches of plastic in the ocean. Imaging sensors on AUVs can be used to monitor seafloor litter. Using drones in the future could possibly help to detect plastic patches. Modelling of floating marine litter can be improved to enhance knowledge and, as a consequence, allow more efficient monitoring schemes. Encourage research and innovation towards recycling programs Improve technologies to recycle mixed materials. Technology to recycle all plastics Foster cooperation with universities doing material research including their impact on the environment. Cooperation between farmers, gear producers and research institutions can be mutually beneficial. Fouling for example is a phenomenon that should be taken into account in the design phase as it increases the weight of the installation. A risk analysis is important. The type of materials and coatings used is also important and is still being understudied. Continue and increase the knowledge flow of pilot projects, e.g. in the frame of INTERREG Baltic Sea Region programme