25 Mar 2019
Microplastics, Aquaculture & Fisheries – a Risk Assessment
Held at the ever-captivating Fishmongers’ Hall, the micro-plastics workshop sought to bring together the prominent names in their field with representation from academia, industry and policy-making to review our current understanding of micro-plastics and the environmental impacts they may have.
A series of talks from both academia and policy addressed two main themes during round-table discussion. Firstly, are micro-plastics dangerous to fish and shellfish ‘health’? Secondly, are micro-plastics in fish and shellfish of any risk to human health?
Session one covered the broader aspects of the effects of micro-plastics in the marine environment. Professor Tamara Galloway of the University of Exeter opened with an overview of the current research and understanding of micro- and nano-plastics. Discussed were the sources of their existence, problems they may pose and to highlight the further-research requirement looking to the future if we are to both better understand the true concerns, and if any, how we might go about preparing ourselves to prevent or deal with these.
Session two addressed some more specific questions and aspects of micro-plastics’ effects with references to case-studies and current policy. Dr. Matthew Cole of Plymouth Marine Laboratory informed on a less commonly heard of aspect in antifouling paint particles, which are typically produced during the maintenance or weathering of boats. These particles are often shed during the process of keeping a vessel seaworthy, and have been shown to accumulate in certain marine species, but to what effect?
James Taylor, Network Manager, ARCH-UK