In July and September, we headed out to France’s northern Opal Coast to collect rubbish and plastic waste. On both of our clean-up outings, at the beaches of Berck-sur-Mer and Merlimont, we came across a considerable amount of plastic fishing nets and resultant residue.
Industrial fishing nets like this are made from synthetic nylon and constitute large-scale waste that is both a danger for human consumption in the seafood we eat, as a well as a huge risk for marine life and biodiversity.
According to the French foundation for research on biodiversity IPBES, which published a report on the matter last May, “plastic pollution in the ocean has reached ten times its level in 1980, now affecting at least 267 different species, among which, 86% of sea turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals”.
Today, the commission on sustainable development in the French parliament will open discussions on a new bill on the circular economy. To this end, we reached out to the regional fishing committee from the northern French region of Hauts-de-France to ask if steps had been taken in terms of collecting and recycling large-scale waste of this nature (letter in French only).