How Chinese fishermen can help tackle marine litter
It sounds fantastic, but real challenges remain: “There are hundreds of thousands of Chinese fishing vessels, even considering only those duly registered,” Zhang said. “You would have to issue 100 million to 200 million labels every year, which is a huge amount of work.”
In addition, a fishing gear recycling system will only work if the fishermen themselves are actively involved. But equipment labeled as conforming to standards will inevitably be more expensive than poor quality equivalents. Zhang said the government may have to offer subsidies to encourage fishermen to participate.
Meanwhile, back on land …
If fishermen start bringing all the waste they produce and also collect to port, including fishing gear, what happens next?
In 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture published an opinion on the prevention of pollution in fishing ports. The key to this was the addition of facilities to accept and transport the waste from the ships.
people are employed in the fishing industry in China
The document provided guidance and evaluation standards for pilot projects to address wastewater, oily water and solid waste. In response, the local governments of Fujian and Zhejiang issued their own instructions. For example, Fengze District in Quanzhou, Fujian, said that by the end of 2023, all first and second tier ports (i.e. those unloading more than 20,000 tons per year ) will have depots accepting “fishery waste”, which includes fish farming. By the end of 2025, facilities for treating this waste will be linked to municipal waste disposal systems, and a fishing gear recycling system will begin to take shape.
If the challenge at sea is participation and follow-up, the challenge on land is the cost. Zhang Yu told China Dialogue that fishing vessels have always brought back old fishing gear, as there is a market for steel cables, ropes and nets, which can be cleaned and reused, or recycled for materials. raw. Unfortunately, the recycling methods used in China are themselves polluting. “The problem is that all over the world it costs more to recycle fishing gear than ordinary waste if it is done in an environmentally friendly manner,” Zhang said. He believes the government will need to put in place policies to support the recycling of fishing gear to help the sector develop.