Conference on plastics in the marine environment

Time Item Lecturer Conference Material 
Welcome Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources  
09:10 View of the public. Citizen science Hildur Knútsdóttir, writer   

09:20 Results from the 2013 International Conference on
Prevention and Management og Marine Litter in European Seas

with emphasis in scope and nature of the problem. 
Stefanie Werner, German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), 
Section Protection of the Marine Environment
09:40 Presentation from OSPAR on Regional Action Plans on marine litter. Emily Corcoran, Deputy Secretary, OSPAR.  
10:00 Coffee break    
10:20 Presentation on microplastics Dr. Marcus Eriksen, 5 Gyres Institute  
10:40 Nordic perspectives on plastics in the marine environment Runar Mathisen, Manager of the NCM Marine group  
11:00 Plastic producers’ contribution – possible solutions Jón Ómar Erlingsson, Managing Director of Oddi.  
11:10 Fisheries sectors contribution – possible solutions Haukur Þór Hauksson from the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ) 
11:20 Baltic Sea Expedition 2014 – Work-in-progress Documentary film (preview) The Nordic Marine Group (HAV), the Nordic Waste Group (NAG) and the Working Group for Fisheries (AG-Fisk)  
11:30 Summary Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Director of the Environment Agency of Iceland.  
12:00 Lunch    
13:00 Two parallel session:
  1. Fisheries and plastic wastes 
  2. Microplastics from consumer goods
  1. Introductory lectures by:
  2. Introductory leactures by:
15:00 Coffee break    
15:30 Results from parallel sessions
  1. Haukur Þór Hauksson from the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ) 
  2. Brynhildur Pétursdóttir, member of the Icelandic parliament
15:50 Panel discussions Bogi Ágústsson, reporter at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RUV)  
16:50 Closure Kristín Linda Árnadóttir, Director of the Environment Agency of Iceland.  

The Environment Agency of Iceland will host a conference on plastics in the marine environment at Silfurberg, Harpa in Reykjavík, Iceland on the 24th of September 2014. The conference has the aim to give an overview of existing knowledge on the issue, and to identify reasonable and effective measures to minimize plastic garbage in the marine environment.

Iceland holds the chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2014. The conference is a part of Iceland’s chairmanship programme and is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.


Project group: 

  • Helgi Jensson, Environment Agency of Iceland 
  • Sigurrós Friðriksdóttir, Environment Agency of Iceland
  • Sesselja Bjarnadóttir, Icelandic Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, Iceland
  • Jóhannis Danielsen, Faroese Marine Research Institute, Faroe Islands / Biology Department, Lund University
  • Runar Mathisen, Norwegian Environment Agency
Plastics play a big role in our daily life and will continue to do so in foreseeable future. However plastic garbage in the marine environment is known to have serious negative impacts on marine resources and fisheries, as well as on the use of coastal areas for tourism and the public. It is of utter importance to minimize these impacts. 

Plastic garbage in the marine environment has different origins, from microplastics increasingly used in cosmetics and other products, to large plastic items and ghost nets. Plastics can have direct impact on animals, both through entanglement and ingestion, which will alter the biological and ecological performance of individuals. It also affects biota through leakage of harmful chemicals often contained in plastics or attached to it. Plastic debris can further have negative impact on the experience of tourists, damage fishermen’s nets and equipment and spoil catches. Thus, it is of high importance to increase people’s awareness on the issue and develop effective measures to reduce marine plastics. 

Catalyst ABC TV - Plastic Oceans, informative video on plastic wastes in the oceans


The conference is held at Silfurberg which is at Harpa, Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Centre which is located at Austurbakki 2 at Reykjavík harbour.

The conference is free of charge and the Environmental Agency will invite the participants for a light lunch at Harpa.

The schedule of the conference runs between 9:00 and 17:00 and after lunch the participants will split into two parallel sessions chosen upon registration. The two sessions offered are Fisheries and plastic waste and Microplastics from consumer good. Each session will start with two introductory lectures followed by discussion in smaller groups. After the parallel sessions their results will be presented for all participants following a panel discussion which includes lecturers and the two session managers.

All information prior or following the conference will be published on the conference website. Participants will additionally be provided with the agenda, participant list and a short overview of the issue upon registration.

If there are any questions or comments concerning the practicalities of the conference, please contact Environice.


Travel information 


In cooperation with



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