Waste Free Oceans held its first public conference in the presence of politicians, NGOs and industry representatives. The aim of this meeting was to promote initiatives which tackle the growing problem of marine litter and to raise awareness on the issue.
Waste Free Oceans (WFO) is an industry led initiative that aims to work together with fishermen in cleaning up floating marine debris in European coastal waters.
Waste Free Oceans was officially launched in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, France in May 2011. Following this launch WFO has set planned pilot projects in Belgium, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Greece. Mrs. Anna Rosbach MEP (Chairwoman, WFO) stated: “We aim to provide local fishermen with the means and know-how for tackling marine litter and to work together with industry in ensuring proper waste management and awareness on the issues surrounding marine litter, its causes and how to avoid it in the first place”.
On the 8th of November 2011 “WFO Belgium” will be launched with the support of Commissioner Maria Damanaki (Maritime Affairs & Fisheries) who has already loaned her support to WFO in the past and has shown considerable encouragement for fishermen to become involved in such initiatives. “WFO Spain” will subsequently be launched on November 17th in Barcelona.
Support through the European Fisheries Fund has already been granted for such initiatives, tackling marine litter, in France and Belgium. This support can play a vital role in the achievement of the targets set out in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC). It is worrying that to date the European Commission has already had to issue several reasoned opinions to Member States who fail to meet the MSFD legal requirements (France, Germany, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, and Finland) - “Again we must renew our efforts to gain the support of the European Fisheries Fund in each Member State and to create a synergy between industry, politicians and fishermen” stated Alexandre Dangis (Managing Director, EuPC). With the confirmed support of the European Fisheries Fund we will be able to operate in several countries and compare results.
Waste Free Oceans