Fishing boats recover hundreds of tonnes of rubbish from the sea

Fishing boats recover hundreds of tonnes of rubbish from the sea

Fishing for Litter: 242 tonnes of waste recovered. Pic: © STV

Fishing boats have helped to remove hundreds of tonnes of rubbish from the sea around the Scotland.

More than 160 vessels have been involved in the project to remove 242 tonnes of waste from the waters over the last three years.

International environment agency KIMO, which oversees the Fishing for Litter initiative, estimates that marine rubbish costs the Scottish fleet £11.5m a year.

It means each skipper loses around £16,000 every year through the cost of repairs to gear, dumped or contaminated fish and lost fishing time.

Tom Piper, KIMO’s UK project co-ordinator, said: “Marine litter has become an increasing problem in our seas and can be very harmful to marine life. It also has implications for fishermen, damaging fishing gear and contaminating fish.

“With over 200 tonnes of rubbish removed in three years, Fishing for Litter has been a success.

“However, this could not have been achieved without the participation of Scottish fishermen. Therefore, I thank all the crew members of the boats and the harbour staff who continue to volunteer their own time to clear the seas of litter.”

Fishing boats from 17 harbours around Scotland have been involved in the major clean-up operation.

Around half of the rubbish collected was plastic or polystyrene, the environment agency reports.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Fishing for Litter is a straightforward and effective way to remove litter from the sea and its success is down to the active participation of the fishing industry and Scottish harbours.

“In tough financial times for the Scottish fleet, the cost implications of marine waste demonstrate why we need to take action to remove litter from our seas.

“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to provide £80,000 to help support the scheme, including £10,000 towards the continuation of the Fishing for Litter project until 2014.”

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