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Provisions for the recovery of waste in the sea and inland waters and for the promotion of the circular economy

Text of the Law

Wednesday, May 11, 2022, marks a historic day for the sea and the future of humanity on the planet. The Senate of the Republic has definitively approved the Bill “Provisions for the recovery of waste in the sea and inland waters and for the promotion of the circular economy (‘Salvamare Law’)” following amendments made in the legislative session in the Chamber last April.

Marevivo and the Federation of the Sea, together with Assonave, Assoporti, Confindustria Nautica, Confitarma, Federpesca, Lega Navale, Italian Sailing League, Anton Dohrn Zoological Station, and La Grande Onda enthusiastically welcome the definitive approval of the Salvamare Law along with almost 100,000 signatories of the petition launched by Marevivo on

Finally, following its publication in the Official Gazette, our country will have an effective and concrete tool, also requested by the European Union, which will allow fishermen to bring ashore plastic recovered with nets instead of discharging it at sea, an action that previously constituted the crime of illicit waste transportation. The law also provides for the installation of collection systems at river mouths to intercept plastic before it reaches the sea and deals with desalination plants, education, cleaning campaigns, Posidonia oceanica, and much more.

A success for Marevivo, which has never lowered its guard, achieving a fundamental result for the protection of the sea and its ecosystem.

What the Law Provides

1. Collection of Waste at Sea

The commander of the ship or the driver of the boat that docks in a port hands over the accidentally fished waste at sea to the port waste collection facility. In the case of mooring a vessel in areas not under the territorial jurisdiction of a Port System Authority as per the law of January 28, 1994, n. 84, the territorially competent municipalities, within the framework of urban waste management, arrange for the waste to be delivered to special collection facilities, including temporary ones, set up near the moorings. The delivery of the accidentally fished waste to the port waste collection facility, after weighing them at the time of delivery, is free of charge for the deliverer and is considered temporary storage. With a decree from the Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, in agreement with the Minister of Ecological Transition, to be adopted within four months from the date of entry into force of this law, rewarding measures are identified for the commander of the fishing vessel. Furthermore, fishing entrepreneurs who, in the exercise of their activities, use materials with a reduced environmental impact, participate in cleaning campaigns, or deliver accidentally fished waste are awarded an environmental recognition certifying their commitment to respecting the environment and the sustainability of the fishing activity they perform.

2. Collection of Floating Waste in Rivers

To reduce the impact of marine pollution from rivers, District Basin Authorities introduce, in their planning documents, experimental measures in watercourses aimed at capturing floating waste.
For these activities, an expenditure of 2 million euros is authorized for each of the years 2022, 2023, and 2024.

3. Desalination Plants

The construction of desalination plants must undergo a preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). With a decree from the Minister of Ecological Transition, specific national guidance criteria for the analysis of environmental and health risks related to desalination plants, as well as the thresholds for environmental impact assessment, are defined, in agreement with the Minister of Health.

4. Cleaning Campaigns

Cleaning campaigns are promoted by: protected area management bodies, environmental associations, fishermen’s associations, fishing cooperatives and enterprises, and their consortia, sport and recreational fishing associations, diving and boating associations, category associations, diving and training centers, as well as beach resort operators. Third-sector entities, non-profit organizations of social utility, social promotion associations, foundations, and associations with the aim of promoting, protecting, and safeguarding natural and environmental assets, and other subjects identified by the competent authority, are also promoting entities. Protected area management bodies may also implement, in concert with the representative bodies of fishing entrepreneurs, public communication, and environmental education initiatives to promote the campaigns mentioned in this article.

5. Awareness Campaigns

To provide adequate information to fishermen and operators in the sector about the modalities of delivering accidentally fished or voluntarily collected waste, appropriate forms of publicity and awareness are provided by the Port System Authorities or by the territorially competent municipalities within the framework of urban waste management.

6.Environmental Education in Schools

The Ministry of Education promotes activities in schools of all levels and grades to make students aware of the importance of preserving the environment, particularly the sea and inland waters. This includes educating them about proper waste disposal methods. These activities are coordinated with the measures and initiatives planned in relation to environmental themes. Schools also promote correct waste disposal practices, recovery and reuse of goods and products at the end of their life cycle, including reducing plastic use and educating about available reuse systems.

7. Permanent Interministerial Consultation Table

To coordinate actions against marine pollution, including that caused by plastics, to optimize fishermen’s actions for the purposes of this law, and to monitor the progress of waste recovery following the implementation of this law, a Permanent Interministerial Consultation Table is established at the Ministry of Ecological Transition. It meets at least twice a year and comprises:

3 representatives from the Ministry of Ecological Transition
1 representative from the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies
1 representative from the Ministry of Economic Development
5 representatives from the National Network System for Environmental Protection, including 2 representatives from ISPRA
1 representative from the National Research Council (CNR)
1 representative from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility
2 representatives from the General Command of the Port Authorities
5 representatives from the management bodies of Marine Protected Areas
3 representatives from the regions
3 representatives from fishing cooperatives, 2 representatives from fishing companies, and 2 representatives from aquaculture companies
1 representative from the National Conference for the Coordination of Port System Authorities.

Amendments Proposed by Marevivo

Marevivo had proposed the inclusion of four amendments in this bill, one of which was included:

River Mouths - Included

To provide for the installation of collection systems at river mouths to intercept waste before it reaches the sea.

Clear Labeling

More detailed labeling of clothing to raise awareness about proper washing to reduce the dispersion of microfibers in the environment and the sea.
Mussel Farming Nets

Mussel Farming Nets

Proper disposal and recycling of mussel farming nets, whose dispersion in the sea reaches about 150 tons each year.

Balloons in Flight

Prohibit the release of balloons into the environment during celebrations and provide clear labeling on their proper disposal.


Ongoing actions


International commitment