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New guidance released on preventing plastic pollution for fishing communities

fishing nets and ropes

The Environment Agency has released guidance setting out how port and harbour managers can protect marine life by responsibly managing resources and waste from fishing vessels.

A new leaflet outlines how to protect the natural environment by preventing pollution incidents and minimising waste at boatyards, harbours and marinas. Storage and disposal information is a key part of the leaflet, with a specific focus on fishing nets, pots, oils and anti-foul products, including hazardous waste type storage advice pages.

There is also a poster inviting members of the fishing community to pledge their support by carrying out a series of actions to protect the ocean, including avoiding single-use plastics in galleys, keeping on-board equipment to collect lost gear, and using available waste facilities.

Project lead Imogen Douglas, from the Environment Agency’s plastic and sustainability team, said: “Abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear can impact on fish stocks and  navigation, and cause marine life to become tangled in plastic pollution, demonstrating the importance of proper disposal for end of life equipment. We hope this new leaflet and pledge poster will help faciliate good waste practice at ports and change behaviours to help our planet thrive.”

The leaflet and poster will be issued to ports and harbours across England, and circulated to relevant stakeholders, including the Marine Management Organisation, the British Ports Association and trawler firms.  It is also available to download from our website here.

As a regulator, the Environment Agency prevents waste plastic entering the environment by cracking down on waste crime and poor waste management. As an influencer, its ambition is to promote better environmental practices that result in a reduction of plastic waste.