Marine litter has become a pervasive pollution problem that affects all of the world seas. Even without looking at the scientific facts and figures, we can easily grasp the negative impacts that marine debris, such as plastics and derelict fishing gear has on our oceans. Marine litter brings suffering to thousands of species of bird, fish and mammals are suffering every year in waters from the polar regions to the equator. And there is also the contamination of catch caused by plastic, let alone the effect of this waste spoiling the beauty of our natural coasts.

The Healthy Seas initiative is well on the way to finding effective solutions to ease this problem. As part of our work we have commissioned a study that was conducted by Ms. A. Bezulenko. The full report can be found here or be downloaded at the end of this news.

The study provides information on international and European laws and policies related to the prevention, removal and recycling of marine litter in general, and fishing gear in particular.

The problem of marine litter is not an easy one. In 2012 UNEP concluded that little or no progress has been achieved in preventing, reducing or controlling pollution of the marine environment. Marine litter is an inherently ‘wicked’ problem with a myriad of drivers, from individual responsibility to industry actions, from land and at sea.

As part of the study, several European policies have been analyzed in detail; looking at selected European policies, Healthy Seas makes clear recommendations as to what changes could help in making the fight against marine litter more effective.