Marine farmers have joined the global fight against plastics, partnering with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) to minimise plastic waste in New Zealand aquaculture.
The first step was a workshop to bring industry together with experts in plastic manufacturing and recycling to identify areas we can improve by fine-tuning existing initiatives and implementing new programmes.
“The New Zealand aquaculture industry is a band of 3,000 Kiwis dedicated to sustainably producing the world’s best seafood,” said AQNZ Chief Executive Gary Hooper.
“Looking after our waterways is part of the job and we are always looking to improve our environmental performance.
“Plastic waste has emerged as a global issue and we’re keen to play our part and reduce plastic waste where possible.
“We see this as a part of our journey of continual improvement, one that will strengthen our green credentials and see the industry recognised globally for leading the way in reducing plastic waste across the production chain.”
The initiative was made possible with funding by the MPI as part of the Aquaculture Strategy and has been welcomed by the Minister for Aquaculture Stuart Nash.
“Taking action on plastics is a challenge shared by all New Zealanders in the journey towards building, a low waste and low emissions economy,” he said.
“I am pleased to be able to support the aquaculture industry in its work with the Sustainable Business Network to better understand its plastics use and the opportunities it has to minimise plastics waste in aquaculture.
“By tackling this challenge head-on, our aquaculture industry is clearly demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, innovation, and improved environmental performance.”
Following the initial workshop, the Sustainable Business Network have published Opportunities report: Tackling plastic waste in NZ aquaculture
SNB General Manager, Projects & Advisory James Griffin said the project fitted well with their vision to create a more circular economy.
“It is fantastic, therefore, to use a circular economy lens to systematically address the challenges and embrace the opportunities associated with tackling plastic waste in aquaculture. Although the work represents an initial step as a sector, it is a crucial one to take to maintain the global leadership position in environmental best practice and reputation,” he said.
Download the report here: Opportunities report: Tackling plastic waste in NZ aquaculture