New pollution prevention advice for fishing communities

The Environment Agency has released guidance setting out how port and harbour managers can protect marine life by responsibly managing resources and waste.

A new leaflet outlines how to protect the natural environment by preventing pollution incidents and minimising waste at boatyards, harbours and marinas.

Storage and disposal information is a key part of the leaflet. There is a specific focus on fishing nets, pots, oils and anti-foul products, including hazardous waste type storage advice pages.

There is also a poster inviting members of the fishing community to pledge their support by carrying out a series of actions to protect the ocean. This includes avoiding single-use plastics in galleys, keeping on-board equipment to collect lost gear, and using available waste facilities.

The materials have been funded by the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollutionproject – a partnership of 18 organisations in England and France. The partnership aims to reduce the impact of plastic pollution in river and marine environments. This includes embedding behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implementing effective solutions and alternatives.

A pile of blue and orange fishing nets, and thick rope
Lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear can impact on fish stocks and navigation

Project lead Imogen Douglas, from the Environment Agency’s plastic and sustainability team, said:

Oil is a highly visible form of pollution and the most frequently reported type of water pollution incident. Without proper shoreside waste management, it harms plants and animals, damages water and land, and destroys natural habitats.

Similarly, abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear can impact on fish stocks and navigation. It can cause marine life to become tangled in plastic pollution, demonstrating the importance of proper disposal for end of life equipment.

We hope this new leaflet and pledge poster will help faciliate good waste practice at ports and change behaviours to help our planet thrive. This is a significant step forward for the Environment Agency as we continue to meet the goals and commitments outlined in our 5 year plan to create better places for people, wildlife and the environment, and the government’s 25 year environment plan.

The leaflet and poster will be issued to ports and harbours across England, and circulated to relevant stakeholders. This includes the Marine Management Organisation, the British Ports Association and trawler firms. It can also be found on the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution website.

As a regulator, the Environment Agency prevents waste plastic entering the environment by cracking down on waste crime and poor waste management. As an influencer, its ambition is to promote better environmental practices that result in a reduction of plastic waste.


Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution: Working in partnership with 18 organisations from across France and England, Preventing Plastic Pollution (PPP) seeks to understand and reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in the river and marine environments. By looking at the catchment from source to sea, the project will identify and target hotspots for plastic, embed behaviour change in local communities and businesses, and implement effective solutions and alternatives.

PPP is a €14million funded EU INTERREG VA France (Channel) England Programme project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund which works mainly across seven pilot sites: Brest Harbour, Bay of Douarnenez, Bay of Veys, Poole Harbour, and the Medway, Tamar, and Great Ouse estuaries.

Partners are the Environment Agency, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Queen Mary University of London, LABOCEA Conseil, Expertise et Analyses, Syndicat mixte établissement public de gestion et d’aménagement de la baie de Douarnenez, Office Français De La Biodiversité, Parc naturel marin d’Iroise, Brest Métropole, Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Counseil départemental de la Manche, Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer, The Rivers Trust, Syndicat de bassin de l’Elorn, ACTIMAR, Brest’aim, Westcountry Rivers Trust, South East Rivers Trust, and Plymouth City Council.