Regional Collaborative Research and Capacity Building for Monitoring and Reduction of Marine Debris from Fisheries in Southeast Asia

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Marine debris is one of the important global challenges that require cooperative responses. The severity of the marine debris issue is particularly acute in the Southeast Asian region and requires a need for efforts to obtain an understanding of the impacts of marine debris and develop necessary management and preventive approaches to mitigate its impediments to sustainable economic growth in the ASEAN through innovation, research, and development of technologies toward conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and natural resources.

Marine debris is a transboundary issue that requires integrated regional cooperation, and strong collaboration among sectors is crucial, particularly in the ASEAN region. Without immediate action, marine debris pollution may negatively impact marine biodiversity, the productivity of fishery resources, health, society, and the economies of the region. In the fisheries sector, Abandoned, Lost, or otherwise Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) has recently drawn attention as one of the significant sources of marine debris; and the reduction of the impacts from ALDFG is a key and distinct part of the global marine debris issue. On the other hand, the fisheries sector is also known to play an important role in addressing the issue of marine debris, e.g. in monitoring the situations not only of the fishery resources but also on the marine debris through fishing activities by fishers, fishery resources research activities, and fishery management activities. Therefore, the contribution from the fisheries sector by encouraging positive actions and reducing negative impacts in close cooperation among the fisheries sector and other sectors, both public and private, of ASEAN Member States is envisaged as necessary in combating marine debris in Southeast Asia.

DURATION: 2024–2025


Regional collaborative research and capacity building in the fisheries sector, including application of scientific knowledge in regional policies and monitoring based on four priority areas of the “ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris” for combating marine debris in Southeast Asia

OUTPUT 1: Policy Support and Planning

Activity 1-1: Information gathering on ALDFG Situations to support policy planning and development

  • Information gathering to estimate the amount of ALDFG at pilot sites (12 pilot sites along the coastal waters in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea)
  • Monitoring on the ALDFG at accumulated pilot sites and development of removal guidance of the ALDFG (18 pilot sites at coastal waters along the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia)

Activity 1-2: Information exchange on ALDFG situation and countermeasures in AMSs Workshop for information exchange and the development of technical guidance on ALDFG countermeasures

OUTPUT 2: Research, Innovation and Capacity Building

Activity 2-1: Environment research survey to evaluate microplastics and other marine environment situations related to fisheries resources at sea

  • Marine environment and fishery resources survey by using a research vessel, and evaluate the impacts of microplastics on the fisheries resources (in the Gulf of Thailand)

Activity 2-2: Research and evaluation on number of marine debris collected by fishing activities

  • Research and evaluation on number of marine debris collected by different types of fishing gears during the fishing activities at sea (Pilot sites: Terengganu waters and Kelantan waters)

Activity 2.3: Research study on the impact from contaminant of micro plastics in freshwater fish and marine fish

  • Investigation and risk assessment of micro plastics in freshwater fish and marine fish, and dissemination of the results on contaminant of micro plastics (Pilot sites: (marine fish) in Gulf of Thailand, (freshwater fish) at the Musi River, South Sumatra, Indonesia)

Activity 2-4: Training on the liable research methods to collect and analyse the marine debris and microplastics

  • On-the-job training on reliable research methods on marine debris and microplastics to officers and researchers in AMSs (at SEAFDEC Training Department ), Kasetsart University, and on the SEAFDEC research vessel, Thailand

OUTPUT 3: Public Awareness, Education and Outreach

Activity 3-1: “Regional Symposium on Marine Debris and Microplastics in Fisheries in Southeast Asia”

  • “Regional Symposium on Marine Debris and Micro plastics in Fisheries in Southeast Asia”, inviting international, regional organizations and donors, as well as representatives from AMSs and Japan in charge of fisheries and marine environment

Activity 3-2: Information distribution and development of website on Marine Debris Development of Project website and communication materials.

  • TD staff develop and manage a website on Marine Debris in the SEAFDEC website, and the website on Marine Debris will be updated after the project through SEAFDEC marine debris survey activities in collaboration with AMSs

OUTPUT 4: Private Sector Engagement

Activity 4-1: Development of methods on marking of fishing gears and promotion on marking of fishing gears

Development of technical manual for marking of fishing gears

  • Information gathering of constrain to marking of fishing gear in AMSs
  • Research of available technical methods on making of fishing gears
  • Investigation of pilot activities on making of fishing gears
  • A technical meeting on development of technical manual for making of fishing gears