Fish income hit by marine litter, warns MEP Clune

IRELAND’S fishing industry is losing up to five percent of its annual revenue due to marine pollution, according to Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune. And she said Ireland must lead the way in protecting our seas from marine litter.
Fisheries and aquaculture waste now accounts for 27% of marine litter, the MEP said and stressed the need for a collective approach to keeping our waters clean and safe.
MEPs at the European Parliament have warned that marine litter, and especially micro and nano plastic, “poses a serious threat to a number of marine animal species”, as well as to fishermen and consumers, with the average consumer of Mediterranean shellfish ingesting around 11000 fragments of plastic every year.
The European Parliament is demanding an EU action plan to substantially reduce the use of plastics and to tackle the pollution of rivers, water courses and coastlines. They said that 80% of marine waste comes from the land. MEPs are also calling for more research to be carried out on the impact of marine litter and micro and nano plastic on fishery resources.
Only 1% of the plastic in the ocean is found floating on the surface, whilst most of it ends up in deep-sea.
Ms Clune said: “Marine litter is having a very negative impact on our seas. Reducing the amount of marine little in our oceans and on our beaches is vital to protect marine life and also to ensure that fish, and as a result the food chain, are not further contaminated by items such as plastics.
“Ireland must lead the way when it comes to tackling the issue of marine litter. Our oceans and seas around Ireland must be looked after and it is up to all of us to ensure we take care of them,” she told Kilkenny Observer.
“It is not enough to simply clean up our waste, we must tackle this at source. We need to be aware of how our actions impact the environment. A circular economy approach focused on recycling and the reuse of materials and products is the best solution to the marine litter problem.
“Everyone in Ireland has a part to play in keeping our oceans clean.”

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