Biodegradable DFADs: Current Status and Prospects
Until recently, dFAD structure, materials and designs have remained quite rudimentary and virtually the same since their discovery, characterized by the increase of the dimensions and prevailing heavy use of plastic components. Biodegradable materials are called to be an important part of the solution, as they can faster degrade in the environment, free of toxins and heavy metals, reducing their lifespan, and preventing them from accumulating in sensitive areas once they are abandoned, lost or discarded. During last decades, regulatory measures at tRFMOs have advanced in the gradual implementation of biodegradable materials in dFAD constructions together with other measures limiting the number of active dFADs and the use of netting materials. However, more clarity is needed starting with a standardised definition of biodegradable dFADs among tRFMOs, to provide operational guidance. Research with those natural and synthetic materials is required, along with updated data collection for monitoring standards, as well as alternative and complementary actions need to be explored to contribute to minimising dFAD adverse effects on environment. Acknowledging the current difficulties for the implementation of fully biodegradable dFADs a stepwise process towards the implementation of fully biodegradable dFADs should be considered.