The survey was carried out within the scope of the MARELITT Baltic project, work package 4. The objective was to assess the readiness, capability and capacity of Baltic Sea fishing harbours to receive, separately collect and sort the derelict fishing gear (DFG) collected from the sea as well as end-of-life fishing gear. Fifty fishing harbours by the Baltic Sea were visited during the survey. The level of the port reception facilities (PRF) and the waste reception and handling procedures (operations related to the separate collection and sorting of DFG) used at the harbour were observed and assessed. Data was collected for the survey in the course of on-site visits, interviews and background checks.
The results reveal that more than half of the harbours selected for participation in the survey have organised waste management services at a reasonably good level. The survey results also indicate that fishing harbours in Germany and Poland have somewhat better general ability to organise waste management than those in Sweden and Estonia. The survey reveals that almost half of the harbours do not have enough containers suitable for the separate collection of waste. However, it must be noted that adding more containers alone will not solve the deficiencies and problems of waste management at harbours. The addition of containers and other reception facilities must be accompanied by an increase in the quantity and quality of suitable supporting waste management services. The principles set out in the EU waste hierarchy, which promote waste prevention, reuse and recovery of materials, must be followed when developing and implementing harbour waste reception and handling plans (which is not the case at the moment).
Fishing gear (DFG and end-of-life fishing gear) is not separately collected in almost half of the fishing harbours at present. Instead, it is placed in the same container as other municipal waste. In most cases, the harbour personnel do not know what happens next to separately collected fishing gear – if the waste management companies to whom the waste is transferred have the competency and technical facilities required for reprocessing and recovery of the material. Such a lack of knowledge and information does not promote the separate collection and handling of fishing gear at harbours.
There are also deficiencies in the provision of information to the harbour users. Fishermen do not always know where and when end-of-life fishing gear must be collected. No attention has been given to ICT opportunities for introducing the waste management rules and organisation of work at harbours (e.g. the harbour’s website does not provide enough information). A few exceptions aside, it can be said that regional cooperation in solving the problems caused by derelict fishing gear is lacking. Baltic Sea countries also lack a common national understanding of the challenges related to the collection and handling of DFG at harbours.