Written Reply to Parliamentary Question on the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) whether the National Action Strategy on Marine Litter considers discarded fishing gear including abandoned gill nets, lead fishing weights and hooks as marine litter; (b) whether the impact of such items on the oceans and marine life are monitored; and (c) whether stronger regulation towards the use and disposal of these items will be considered.
1 The National Action Strategy on Marine Litter (NASML) was published in June 2022 and represents a major milestone in Singapore’s efforts to tackle marine litter. Abandoned, lost, or discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) has been the subject of growing attention due to the impact it has on the environment and marine life. Studies have shown that the impact of ALDFG has increased in the past decades, in part due to the expansion of commercial fishing activities and fishing grounds. In Singapore, ALDFG is a relatively minor concern, given Singapore’s small commercial fishing industry. This is why the issue of ALDFG was not included in the NASML.
2 This does not mean Singapore has not taken steps to address ALDFG. There are ground-up initiatives that seek to monitor our shorelines and reef environments to document and remove marine debris, including ALDFG, on a regular basis.
3 There are also efforts to protect our native marine biodiversity from ALDFG. NParks encourages members of the public to carry out responsible recreational fishing at designated fishing spots, using more sustainable fishing methods. Net fishing and the use of wire mesh traps are not allowed in areas managed by NParks, and signages have been put up at popular recreational fishing areas to educate fishers and encourage best practices. NParks is also working closely with fishing communities to promote responsible fishing.