Litter fishing at sea lands a 600 tonne haul

Eyemouth fishing boats are among the fleet of Scottish vessels who have helped clear 600 tonnes of marine litter from Scotland’s seas.

The equivalent of more than 35 million empty drink cans were landed at participating ports such as Eyemouth.

The litter comes from a number of sources, including a significant amount from the general public, and much of it is plastic that, if left in the sea, would spend many, many years in the environment slowly breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces that are potentially affecting the marine food.

The Fishing For Litter project was introduced to Scottish waters by KIMO UK, an Aberdeenshire organisation, in 2005. It encourages skippers of fishing vessels to land litter they catch in their nets during their normal fishing activities and is sponsored by Scottish Natural Heritage, The Crown Estate, the Scottish Government, Aberdeenshire Council, Highland Council, Seagreen Wind Energy, Total E&PUK 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 like Eyemouth.

Eyemouth Harbour Master, Ivan Stevenson, said: “Eyemouth harbour is proud to have participated in the fishing for litter scheme since its inception. We’ve handled several skip loads of litter brought in by the fishing fleet.

“This is a worthwhile project which contributes towards cleaner, safer seas.”

Project co-ordinator Tom Piper said “I would like to thank all the participants who make the project such a success and continue to improve the quality of our seas. I would encourage more vessels to sign up.”