Ongoing commitment to tackling ocean plastics

Lerwick Port Authority is continuing its support for the Fishing for Litter initiative which has been raising awareness of the project among local fishermen.

Captain Calum Grains, Port Authority Chief Executive, said: “We are one of the scheme’s registered ports, offering cost-free landing facilities for marine litter from local fishing vessels.

“Providing safe disposal routes for marine litter is key to meeting our environmental objectives and demonstrates a strand of our community stakeholder involvement.”

The Fishing for Litter project was developed by KIMO (Local Authorities International Environmental Organisation), a European-wide association of coastal local authorities whose goal is to eliminate pollution from the Northern Seas. It has expressed appreciation of the assistance received from the Port Authority.

To coincide with awareness events in Shetland, Shetland Fishermen’s Association and KIMO issued a news release:

New skips to mark 15 years of successful marine litter scheme

New dedicated Fishing for Litter skips have been installed at Lerwick and Scalloway harbours to mark 15 years of the highly successful project.

To raise awareness of the voluntary scheme, which is run by KIMO International and removes around 120 tonnes of marine litter, mainly plastics, from Scottish waters every year, new-look Fishing for Litter flags for participating vessels have also been unveiled.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association and the isles fishing community have been strong supporters of the project since its inception.

SFA policy officer Sheila Keith said: “Public awareness of the need to remove plastics from our seas is currently very high.

“Our fishermen embraced the Fishing for Litter scheme when it was established in 2004 and we expect that future generations of fishermen will be as keen to participate.

“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 can unload the bags of litter. These bags are collected regularly and the rubbish is recycled or disposed of on land.”

Grioghair McCord of KIMO, whose secretariat is based in Shetland with the SIC, said: “All the fishermen who participate in the project are volunteers. On a daily basis, they are out at sea removing rubbish from the ocean. Result? Cleaner seas, cleaner beaches and a healthier marine environment.

“Over the years this project has continually proven to be a very practical and cost-effective way to reduce marine litter.

“It is with great pride that KIMO reaffirms our commitment to working with the fishing industry in Shetland to create healthy, sustainable seas to the benefit of all.”

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On Wednesday 8 May, KIMO International held their Board meeting at Lerwick and received a tour of Lerwick Harbour.

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