This simple initiative aims to reduce marine litter by involving one of the key stakeholders, the fishing industry. Member vessels are given hard-wearing bags to collect marine litter that accumulates in their nets during fishing operations. Filled bags are returned to the quayside in participating ports and moved to secure containers ready for safe and responsible disposal.
As well as the obvious environmental impact of marine litter, research has shown it costs the fishing industry on average, £10,000 per boat, each year, through contamination of catches, broken gear, and fouled propellers. Vessels surveyed, spent an average of 41 hours a year removing marine debris from fishing gear. These are costs that fishing vessels cannot afford to absorb. Participation in the project will contribute towards the permanent removal of debris and marine litter from fishing grounds, which not only makes good financial sense, but also helps fishing vessels meet the requirements of the Responsible Fishing Scheme.
Fishing for Litter South West aims to establish a network of 6 harbours, recruit a minimum of 60 fishing vessels and recover 200 tonnes of marine litter. A percentage of the waste that comes ashore will be monitored to try to identify the source of the litter and establish if there are any regional differences. The information will also be fed into international monitoring programs such as OSPAR’s Marine Litter Monitoring Working Group.
The project is being co-ordinated locally by a Project Officer based at Seafood Cornwall Training in Newlyn and overseen internationally by KIMO UK. See what Creative Edge has done for Fishing For Litter