Plastics in our Oceans. What are the impacts on the industry?

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The issue and impact of plastics in our oceans, people, plants, animals and entire ecosystems was front and centre at the recent United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal.

Plastics in our Oceans. What are the impacts on the industry?

Through the UN Environment Assembly, more than 500 organisations and 21 additional governments, including Australia, have signed up to commitments to change how plastic is produced, used and reused to keep it out of the environment.

The FRDC funded research looking into plastic issue across Australian waters.  The project found that seafood species in Australia consume microplastics at low levels in comparison to elsewhere in the world.  However, the issue remains despite being low.

Professor Bronwyn Gillanders at the University of Adelaide is now working on a related project focussed on the potential effects and implications of plastic in seafood and its impacts for fishing and aquaculture.  This research will be presented at Human Health Symposium being held in September.

From 2021, seven out of eight Australia States and territories have committed to ban single-use plastics which are being rolled out in Stages.  Australia’s National Packaging Targets set a goal to phase out problematic single-use plastics by 2025.

This will have an affect on your vessel, whether recreational or commercial – this can and should affect your time on the water.

Discarding Fishing Nets!

Approximately 46% of the 79 thousand tons of ocean plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of fishing nets, some as large as football fields.

Fishing nets lost, abandoned, or discarded at sea – also known as “ghost nets” – can continue killing indiscriminately for decades and decades, entangling or suffocating countless fish, sharks, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, seals and marine birds every year. An estimated 30% percent of the decline in some fish populations is a result of discarded fishing equipment, while more than 70% of marine animal entanglements involve abandoned plastic fishing nets.

This is crazy! As the marine industry is now seeing the light at the end of the the COVID tunnel, we need to make sure that every person that is on the water is being responsible for what is ‘in’ the water.

The Ocean is your backyard, you need to keep it clean and maintained!

For our recreational clients, please take your catch home and dispose of the waste with your household rubbish.

Dispose of marine litter such as bait packaging, unwanted fishing line and plastic bags responsibly to reduce impacts on marine mammals and seabirds.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

From a business sense, if your company is producing any single use plastic onboard, now is the time you need to be looking at alternatives.

You will need to consider all options to reduce the use of single-use and non-compostable and non-biodegradable plastics as this may important to retaining and enhancing the sustainability credentials of a business.

While options to ‘green’ a business’ around single-use plastics can present a great business opportunity, eventually, as the focus on our industry is for a more sustainable future, this will also likely become essential to ensuring legal compliance and, accordingly, may become an issue of fundamental importance to business survival.

Tip

Make the most of the disposal facilities at boat ramps and marinas to reduce plastic pollution associated with marine industry.

Review your current use of single-use plastics both onboard, in warehouses, office etc and seek alternatives where required as a matter of importance.

Every crew member is aware of the legalities around ‘throwing things overboard’.  Under no circumstances should fishing lines/nets be discarded overboard.