About a decade ago I came across a bunch of fishermen Fishing for Litter in the North Sea. The idea was simple; instead of chucking litter entangled in their fishing gear back overboard, they brought it in to shore to be dealt with. The project aims to reduce the amount of litter in the sea (much of which is plastic) by physically removing it, and the campaign has grown with 372 vessels and 24 harbours across Scotland and South West England now taking part.
So far the member vessels have collected around 1100 tons of marine litter which is great news, although much of it inevitably will end up in landfill. Whilst that seems to be the lesser of two evils, another project in the Netherlands is taking the concept of fishing for litter full circle.
Photo credit: Plastic Whale
Plastic Whale runs tours of Amsterdam’s canal system where visitors can enjoy a few hours of fishing. But this is not the type of fishing you might first imagine, as those on board are specifically searching for plastic litter. The company then use the plastic waste collected and recycle it to make new boats and skateboards, and the fishing vessel itself is of course, made of recycled plastic too.
It’s great to see this social enterprise thriving, but sad to think that it’s only because there is a relentless flow of plastic litter into the water.
Photo credit (top of page): Fishing for Litter