The aquaculture and fisheries industries are sources of ocean plastics. While we have improved over the last years, there is still a lot of work to be done in this area. We must approach this challenge holistically, and look at:
- Prevent plastics from our operations leaking into the ocean
- Work with suppliers and help develop recycling infrastructure for materials from our operations. Today, there is no complete system for recycling
- Reduce the amount of plastics used in our operations
Grieg Seafood has a partnership with the environmental NGO Bellona to tackle the plastics challenge in the company. We have engaged in several initiatives, and we are currently using learning from these efforts to develop an approach to plastics and the circular economy for the entire company.
Pilot in Finnmark
We have piloted work with plastics in the Finnmark region. At our sites, cages, moorings and ropes, nets, feeding tubes, sea lice skirts, and shelter for cleaner fish are the main sources of plastics. A typical site with ten pens of 90 x 90 meters contains approximately 360 000 kg of plastic. It is estimated that 0.5% of this, 1 800 kg, disappears.
Main initiatives we have worked on are:
- Develop “material accounting” where we register all plastics and material bought by the region and map out all sources of plastics. The aim is to recycle all plastics and avoid leakages.
- Making recycling of plastics easier at sites with separate containers, and improve work culture for reducing use of plastics and recycle what is used.
- Develop plastics products that last longer and are easier to recycle together with suppliers, such as sea lice skirts and artificial kelp forests for cleaner fish.
- Work with suppliers to develop return schemes. For instance, nets made of nylon can be reused in various textiles and carpets, or turned into other nylon products.
Grieg Seafood is a partner in the POCOplast project initiated in 2019. POCOplast is short for: “Pathways to sustainable use of post-consumer plastics in aquaculture”. The aim of the project is to increase the value of recycled plastics, by utilizing used plastic from the aquaculture industry in new products thus reducing the demand for new plastic. This will also increase the knowledge of recyclability in the supply chain and reduce the loss of the material value that many high value plastics inhibit today.
We depend on healthy oceans where we operate. In all regions, we arrange beach clean-ups around our farms at least annually. In some areas we partner with local beach cleaning NGOs to tackle the issue.