An assessment of fishing vessels plastic waste generation in the WCPO region and potential measures to improve waste management in the fleet
This article is based on the executive summary of a report2 commissioned by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) to gain an understanding of the situation regarding plastic waste that is dumped into the western and central Pacific Ocean from fishing vessels. Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, this desktop study reviewed the existing literature on the subject to gain insight about waste management practises onboard fishing vessels. Fishing boat officers and/or company personnel were surveyed when possible, and the extensive experience of the authors in the fields of fishing vessels and waste management were also relied on to make an overall assessment of the current situation regarding waste disposal on vessels in the Pacific. The ultimate aim of the study was to provide possible strategies and actions that could be taken at both the national and regional level to eliminate all plastic waste disposal at sea. The authors have endeavoured to address this central point through a thorough and careful analysis of the information available. It is essential to bear in mind from the outset, the reason why an attempt was being made to determine the amount of waste that is dumped in the ocean: to prevent it.