Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Ceisteanna (33)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

33. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the details of the clean oceans initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5715/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Agriculture)

I launched the Clean Oceans Initiative in January at the fishing port of Union Hall in West Cork. This exciting project aims to tackle the threat of plastic pollution in our marine environment by encouraging Irish trawlers to collect marine litter while at sea. Approximately 80% of marine debris is made up of plastics which do not biodegrade, but rather break up into tiny particulates. This poses a risk to marine wildlife as well as our fish stocks so it is prudent that action is taken to remove as much plastics from the marine environment as possible.

The Clean Oceans Initiative, funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, will provide on-board storage facilities and on-shore infrastructure for environmentally friendly disposal of all plastic waste and fishing gear recovered at sea. My ambition is to have all Irish trawlers at every pier and port actively participating in Ireland’s first co-ordinated initiative to collect, reduce and reuse marine litter and clean up our marine environment by the end of 2019.

I have tasked Bord Iascaigh Mhara with assembling a collaborative multi-stakeholder team, to focus on solutions for marine litter prevention and removal. BIM will also reach out to the wider coastal community and I look forward to receiving proposals for further innovative solutions for the prevention and removal of marine litter. I have asked BIM to report quarterly on progress on this Initiative and I have been heartened to see how broadly it has been welcomed to date.