Analysis of international, European and Scot's law governing marine litter and integration of policy within regional marine plans

H. Sheridan, K. Johnson, A. Capper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
88 Downloads (Pure)


Within recent years, the issue of marine litter has become increasingly relevant to the citizens of Scotland. Inputs from shipping and fishing activities with additional contributions from society's throw away lifestyle has inundated healthy seas, endangered wildlife and degraded the health of the oceans. International, European and Scot's law governing the marine environment exists on a legally and non-legally binding basis, with the strictest of regulations concerning marine litter more commonly found on a non-legally binding basis. A global response is necessary to curb the issue but despite commitments to protect the marine environment, many States that have committed to reducing environmental pollution via international treaties are lagging on their promises. The introduction of marine planning to reduce conflict between users and the marine environment has the potential to address marine litter and to uphold commitments for healthy seas under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This paper, using a scientific literature-based analysis, evaluates international, European and Scottish environmental law that addresses aspects of marine litter, including inputs, types of marine litter and the outcomes of parties found guilty of contributing to the issue. Integration of these policies within regional marine plans utilising local knowledge has become the first step in tackling this ubiquitous problem, as well as increasing awareness of policies and marine planning amongst the public. A survey was carried out in Scotland to establish awareness levels on these topics: awareness of marine litter (100%), marine planning (34%) and regional marine plans (33%). Raising public awareness of marine planning will aid its effectiveness in reducing the presence and impact of marine litter.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105119
JournalOcean & Coastal Management
Early online date31 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • By-laws
  • Environmental law
  • Marine litter
  • Marine planning
  • Policies
  • Scotland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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