WFO-France Macro-déchets

Genesis of the program

On request of the Federation of the Plastics Processing Industry, the CNPMEM accepted in 2011 to start a joint project for the collect of plastic macro-wastes floating in the sea and their valuation once landed. In fact, the issue of the marine environment preservation is of the most essential for the CNPMEM. This project is contributing to a larger dynamic: the decontamination of maritime and estuarine waters, which represents an interest of the plastics processing industry for the future of their products, once created and sold, but also represents a diversification of the fisherman profession (sea cleaner).

The program has started in 2012, is planned for a 3-years period, but funding was only confirmed during the fall 2012, for one year as a beginning.

Purpose of the program

The project « WFO-France Macro-déchets » aims at developing, on the first hand, an at sea collection protocol of these wastes, performed by professional fishermen using an innovative gear (a surface trawl created by Thomsea), and on the other hand, an identification protocol for macro-wastes (ideally, their recycling), and thus the development of intermediary steps such as the process once landed and the coordination of these processes.

The objective for the year 2013 was not a huge collection of macro-wastes quantities, more a test of the gear and its workability, and the detection of the periods where macro-wastes were present.

Preliminary results

The collect started during the summer of 2013 with two actions engaged. First, a scoping phase to identify the concentration points of the wastes in coastal waters and, in the same time, the training of fishermen in the use of the experimental trawl and the practical organization of the operations. The 6 volunteer vessels went at sea during 8 to 20 days periods to collect wastes, in order to test and improve the efficiency of the experimental fishing gear and to choose which vessel profile was the most appropriate to conduct the operations (size, capacity, and crew).

It is already too early to know the results of the first year of collection (analysis of the wastes are still performed by the company PAPREC) in terms of volume and nature of the wastes. But provisional analysis reveals that : (1) the time is an essential element in the quantity of wastes : it is mandatory to be ready to intervene at the right time (peaks of wastes) (2) the use of the trawl is eased by a sufficient crew on board and/or after modifications on the equipment (installation of a support bar) (3) in some areas, macro-wastes are most located at the bottom than on surface, and this justify the development of complementary collection gears (i.e. waste creels) (4) the cooperation with local actors and recreational boaters highly improves the spotting of macro-waste accruals (need for improvements in the communication).

The organization of the 2014 campaign is still underway.

Advisor on this program at the CNPMEM:
Delphine Ciolek – Project Manager at the Department for Fishery (

Mis à jour le 27 March 2015