Clean Oceans Initiative

In 2017 the UN’s Ocean Conference recognised the importance of addressing marine pollution (including plastics) as a socioeconomic issue, requiring the adoption of reuse and recycling, the development of economically viable waste streams and encouraging behavioural change to stop plastic waste entering our oceans.

In the marine environment up to 80% of debris is made up of plastics which are not biodegradable, but instead are breaking down under UV light from recognisable larger plastic pieces into tiny particulates or microplastics. Concerted and positive actions are required to reduce the inputs of plastic entering our marine environment and ecosystems. 

BIM plays a key role in supporting the Irish seafood sector and our local communities together under the Clean Oceans Initiative to ensure waste impacts are minimised and mitigation efforts are developed and recognised.

Involvement in the Clean Oceans Initiative demonstrate the Irish seafood industry’s commitment to sustainability and contributes towards Ireland’s responsibilities under the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the EU plastics strategy.


Key Areas of Work

Reference: Expand the current baseline data collection programme from Fishing for Litter to include key inputs and output of the seafood sector in order to define the waste streams coming directly from the Irish industry.  This informs the direct mitigation initiatives.

Retrieve: Important and substantial actions are already underway in retrieval of marine litter across the Irish marine and seafood sectors. These include Fishing for Litter, shore and pier cleans and the Co-ordinated Local Aquaculture Management Systems (CLAMS). These programmes focus on retrieval of discarded material in the marine environment.

Reduce: Preventing waste from the sector becoming marine litter in the first place will be potentially the most environmentally impactful for the Clean Oceans Initiative. Targeting reduction in single use plastics and identifying alternatives is a clear priority. On-board initiatives along with the aquaculture ECOPACT and Origin Green will help ensure that all potential sources of marine litter are accounted for. 

Record: A verifiable system to record and characterise the litter retrieved will be key to the success of this initiative.

Reach: BIM endeavours to work with our stakeholders and support their efforts under the Clean Oceans Initiative.

Reward: Championing and supporting individual and community efforts in the reduction of marine litter and plastics. Demonstrating performance and recognising the effort and co-operation that it takes to be successful and make a difference in protecting our marine environment is integral to the Clean Oceans Initiative.

The Clean Oceans Initiative is funded through the Sustainable Fisheries Scheme which is established under Union Priority 1 of Ireland’s Operational Programme under the EMFF and is co-funded by the Irish Government and the EU.


For More Information

Green Programme Co-ordinator / Food Safety Specialist

Jeanne Gallagher PhD