Kasimedu to be free of ghost nets
This initiative will also include designing and developing of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme for producers of fishing gear.
CHENNAI: In order to prevent marine pollution, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has decided to launch the state’s first abandoned fishing net and other marine litter collection centre under Tamil Nadu Fishnet Initiative (TNFI), at Kasimedu, one of the major fishing harbours in the state.
The fishnet collection centre initiative was announced during the recent state budget session and it will be a pilot project which will be extended to other fishing areas based on the outcome.
According to the TNPCB document, Kasimedu harbour generates around 1,000 kilograms of waste every day, with approximately 150kg of waste comprising different types of plastics. Of the 150kg of plastic waste, around 50kg to 60kg waste are discarded fishing nets.
The centre aims to recover the discarded fishnets and recycle them by implementing the circular economy solutions. This initiative will also include designing and developing of an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programme for producers of fishing gear.
The centre will also help the environment department to mitigate the adverse environmental impact caused by discarded fishnets, promote eco-friendly practices, and uplift the socio-economic conditions of the fishermen communities in the region.
The department will collaborate with women self-help groups or non-governmental organizations to run the collection centre.
Kasimedu stands as a cornerstone of Tamil Nadu’s fishing industry, with a daily sale of an impressive 200 tonnes of fish and seafood products. The harbour witnesses the daily influx of approximately 30,000 people, primarily fishermen and traders.
On the other hand, Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust (GoMBRT) is also taking measures to assess the amount of ghost gear and other plastic waste and remove them from the sea.
It may be noted that about 80 percent of marine litter affecting the world’s oceans emanates from terrestrial sources. A significant amount of the remaining 20 percent assumed to be derived from marine-based sources which is made up of Abandoned, Lost, Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) commonly known as “ghost gear”. Discarded fishing nets, for example, make up almost 46 percent of the debris in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’.
A research article published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) advocated for fishing gear that can be traced to its owners so that anyone dumping nets can be fined and it stressed refundable deposits on nets to encourage returning or recycling rather than littering.