Fisheries-related debris is the largest single category by volume found in beach litter. In Europe, based on numerous surveys, fisheries is estimated to contribute 39 per cent (Veiga et al. 2016; European Commission 2018a). The proportion of items on beaches from sea-based activities increases with stronger tides, suggesting that the share of litter in the water may be even higher (Unger and Harrison 2016). At sea 10 per cent of all floating debris is abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) (Stelfox et al. 2016); in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre 46 per cent of this debris consists of fishing nets (Lebreton 2018).
A major source of plastic contamination in some coastal areas is shipbreaking (Science for Environment Policy 2016). It is thought that 1 to 2 per cent of the 6 million boats maintained in Europe (i.e. at least 80,000) reach end-of-life each year, but that only around 2,000 are adequately dismantled (European Commission 2017). A significant share of the remainder are abandoned, potentially ending up in the oceans and becoming marine litter.
From collection: From Pollution to Solution: A Global Assessment of Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution