Fishermen remove over 500 tonnes of litter from the sea

Fishing vessels in Scotland have voluntarily cleared over 500 hundred tonnes of marine litter from Scotland’s seas and landed it in participating ports - that is the equivalent of bringing 4,251 cars ashore.

The Fishing For Litter project was first introduced to Scotland by KIMO UK in 2005, it encourages skippers to land litter they catch as part of their normal fishing activities.

The litter originates from a number of sources and much of it is single use plastic items that, if left in the sea, would slowly break down into smaller and smaller pieces that could potentially affect the marine food chain.

The United Nations Environment Programme has recently described marine litter, and in particular plastic litter, as a serious global problem and the project helps tackle this problem and highlight the importance of responsible waste management.

KIMO chairman Councillor Len Scoullar of Argyll and Bute Council said “I am delighted that the project has reached this milestone, given that more than half of the litter landed is lightweight plastic this reflects a huge effort. Fishing For Litter projects operated by KIMO networks in Northern Europe have now removed more than 3100 tonnes of litter from the sea and I am pleased that the Scottish fishing fleet is part of this effort.”

The Fishing For Litter scheme is currently facilitated by sponsorship from Scottish Natural Heritage, The Crown Estate, the Scottish Government, Aberdeenshire Council, Highland Council, Seagreen Wind Energy, Total E&P UK Ltd, and the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust. The project also benefits from the time given to the project by the staff at all the participating harbours.