Marine Litter

Marine Litter Sub Group

The marine litter sub group is one of four sub-groups that come under the umbrella of the BIC Environment work sector, along with, marine environment,  climate adaptation and Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS).  Each sub group has its own membership drawn from the eight BIC Member Administrations who then feed into the main BIC Environment work sector.

The 30th British-Irish Council Summit, held in Guernsey, on the 22 June 2018 highlighted a number of marine environment issues.  The Ministers stressed that marine litter needed urgent, concerted and collaborative action. They reaffirmed their commitment to “prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution” by 2025 as required by UN Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water.

The British-Irish Council Marine Litter Symposium, held in Glasgow, on the 22 February 2019 considered common issues faced by the BIC administrations. Ministers identified different areas where they could collaborate further, including: recycling of end of life fishing gear; reducing the loss of pre-production plastics; and improving education for young people and the fishing industry.  Minsters also agreed to register associated actions as a joint voluntary pledge in the UN Communities of Ocean Action commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

Lead Administration

The marine litter sub group is led both the UK Government (DEFRA) and by the Scottish Government.

Current Focus

The sub group is currently focusing on three key areas:-

  • Recycling of fishing gear – The group will report with a background paper, informed by members’ gear inventories, to be used to identify potential future management options.
  • Pre-Production Plastics – Nurdles – The group will report on engagement with ports and plastics supply chain businesses, and updates and early recommendations from the trial of the supply chain approach in Scotland.
  • Marine Litter Education – The group will report on the findings of a mapping exercise which will highlight strengths and potential opportunities for improvement in the approaches across the BIC regions.  It will also provide recommendations to improve the levels of marine litter education and understanding across our young people and fishing sector.

The sub group will report to Ministers at the next meeting of Ministers of the BIC Environment work sector

Further Information

Please see below some of the events that the marine litter sub group have attended as part of their work programme across the eight Member Administrations of the British Irish Council.

BIC Environment Ministers meet at the Marine Litter Symposium in February 2019 in Glasgow.

Young people’s ambassadors meet together at the first BIC Marine Litter Symposium in Glasgow.