Funding to tackle marine litter

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A project to help remove harmful litter from Scottish waters and raise awareness of its environmental impact is set for expansion after receiving almost £180,000 of funding from the Marine Fund Scotland.

The Fishing for Litter scheme is part of an international movement to support removal of marine litter from fishing areas and raise awareness of the damage done by marine litter with the fishing industry, communities and school children.

The project also works to encourage improvement of waste management practices within the fishing industry.

First launched in Scotland in 2005, the scheme has grown to include 20 harbours, including Campbeltown and Tarbert, with more than 280 fishing vessels collecting 1,844 tonnes of marine litter.

The voluntary project has set ambitious targets for the coming year of landing at least 150 tonnes of marine litter, recruiting at least another 30 member fishing vessels and adding a minimum of three participating ports.

The funding will be used to cover waste collection and disposal, staff costs and education materials.

Announcing the funding last week, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon said: ‘Marine litter is a global challenge and we are working nationally and internationally to address it.

‘This funding demonstrates our commitment to reducing plastic pollution as part of a suite of wider measures which includes action on single-use plastic products.

‘It also acknowledges the continued success of the Kommunernes International Miljøorganisation (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation (KIMO’s) Fishing for Litter project and the role of our fishing industry in helping remove debris from our seas to support environmental and economic sustainability.

‘We are clear climate change and biodiversity loss are the greatest long-term challenges we are facing.

‘We have prioritised actions in our Programme for Government to tackle marine litter and we are taking important steps to ensure the amount of litter entering the marine environment is minimised to bring ecological, economic and social benefits.

‘As global leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for COP26, we will seize the opportunity to share learning, demonstrate our shared ambition and drive forward essential change through genuine global partnership.’

Fishing for Litter is run by KIMO which was was founded in Denmark in 1990.

Fishing boats are given large bags to collect the plastics, ghost gear and other debris that gathers in their nets during normal fishing activities. When the fishing boats come into port, they unload the bags of litter which are collected regularly and the rubbish is disposed of.

Visit for more information on the project and a list of participating ports.