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Government backs Fishing for Litter 

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12 December, 2008

Litter is being brought ashore in large bags.THE GROUNDBREAKING Fishing for Litter campaign initiated by Shetland-based environmental organisation KIMO three years ago has been given the seal of approval by the Scottish government.

This week environment secretary Richard Lochhead launched another three year Fishing for Litter project.

So far 110 Scottish fishing boats operating out of 15 harbours, including Lerwick, have trawled 117 tonnes of litter from the seabed through the scheme.

KIMO say the scheme helps both the environment and the fishing industry by cleaning up potential threats to both wildlife and fishing gear.

However they point out their success is a drop in the ocean compared to the 20,000 tonnes of rubbish dumped each year in the North Sea alone, 70 per cent of which ends up on the seabed, the rest divided between the surface and shoreline.

Fishing for Litter ministerial launch on Wednesday (L-R): Ann Hunter (Peterson SBS), Brian O'Neill (TOTAL), Richard Lochhead (Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment), Norman MacDonald (KIMO vice chair and Western Isles council), David Phillip (Crown Estate), Rick Nickerson (KIMO) and Tom Piper (KIMO).It is estimated that 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed by discarded plastic, many having consumed large quantities mistaking it for food.

Fishing boats can suffer damage worth up to £30,000 through contamination of catches, broken gear and fouled propellers.

Mr Lochhead said: “As the Scottish government prepares to launch its landmark Marine Bill next year, it is absolutely vital that we have cleaner, greener seas. Fishing for Litter is an imaginative yet simple initiative, successfully reducing marine litter with the involvement of the fishing industry. I am very pleased that the Scottish government has been able to support the project. I wish it every success for the future.”
 


Most recent update - Saturday, 20 December 2008 00:08
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