Fishing For Litter In North And Baltic Sea

Fishing for Litter - NABU - Class Schroeder
Fishing for Litter – NABU – Class Schroeder

In recent years, fishermen in the North Sea and Baltic Sea found that the volume of waste in their nets has increased steadily. To support them with disposing of that debris properly, the project “Fishing for Litter” (F4L) had officially been kicked off in the region of Schleswig-Holstein back in May 2011.

The initial talks between local fishermen, NABU and regional partners started in Burgstaaken on the island of Fehmarn. They quickly defined common goals and objectives. The speed of progress brought more fishermen, cities and their harbours in play.

In 2014, the counties of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) started supporting the Fishing for Litter initiative as well. With that, from a financial perspective, they made it a bit easier to organise and set up the infrastructure needed.

What is Fishing for Litter about?

Fishing for Litter - NABU - G. Schneider
Fishing for Litter – NABU – G. Schneider

The idea of Fishing for Litter is pretty simple. It has been run for a few years already by KIMO in a couple of European countries. Fishermen get provided with large bags for collecting all the waste coming in with their catch. On board they separate waste from fish and transport it back to their home harbour.

Sort it, classify it – and prevent future pollution

At the harbour, containers for all sorts of garbage are ready to take the “rubbish cath of the day”. In a very labour intensive process this waste gets sorted and classified.

Why? So its composition as well as its origin can be classified. The idea behind this classification is to develop actions and suggestions for shipping, fishery and local communities to fight litter pollution in North and Baltic Sea.

Numbers of participants rising

Fishing for Litter - NABU - Kim Detloff
Fishing for Litter – NABU – Kim Detloff

By spring 2015 the number of fishermen participating in Fishing for Litter has risen to over 120 (German coast, North Sea and Baltic Sea). They have collected more than seven tons of waste – it may sound like only a very small portion of what is floating around, but it is a more than excellent start.

And all that as an additional bonus to their daily work. Well done – and a big THANKS to all those fishermen, local partners and the NABU!!

Have you seen similar activities in your country? What do your local fishermen say about plastic pollution or waste in water?

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