|Around 12 million tonnes of plastic is being flushed into the oceans each year.|
In Vietnam, plastic consumption has been increasing 16% - 18% annually. According to the Vietnam Plastics Association, each Vietnamese person consumed 41kg of plastic per year in 2019. The amount of plastic waste discharged into the environment and the ocean in particular has also increased.
It is essential to increase the understanding about types of plastic waste, and their harmful effects on the environment, health, and especially the livelihoods of fishermen and aquaculture farmers. The need to switch to biodegradable alternatives to plastic and efficiently manage plastic waste have received much attention from the Vietnamese Government, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and WWF Vietnam.
Recently, many action programmes have been launched to call on the community, especially fishermen, to be more responsible in using equipment made from plastic, such as fishing gear, and to join hands to clean up the sea. Such events have attracted enthusiastic participation from the public.
Public awareness and joint action, including among the fishermen who are working at sea every day, play a decisive role in the protection of the marine environment. The fisheries sector in coordination with WWF Vietnam have called on fishermen to take urgent measures to shield the marine environment.
Accordingly, fishermen are encouraged to adopt appropriate practices in responsible fishing, observe fishing gear restrictions, and safely remove old and damaged fishing gear.
They should also notify the appropriate functional agencies if their fishing gear is lost, actively participate in activities to collect marine waste, and bring collected waste ashore for the benefit of the marine environment and their own fishing grounds.
In addition, fishermen need to stimulate fishing gear innovations to reduce impact on the marine environment, sharing their practical knowledge and experience on how to prevent the loss of fishing gear, and join programmes on the retrieval of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear in the ocean.
A clean marine environment lays an important foundation for the building of a safe and abundant source of seafood towards sustainable development of the marine economy and marine tourism, while also generating motivation to improve the livelihoods of fishermen.